Michael Annett Closes Full-Time Career with JR Motorsports

Ron Lemasters | 11/10/2021

Michael Annett News Pilot Flying J

On Saturday, Annett strapped into the No. 1 Chevrolet for 200 laps at Phoenix Raceway. It was the final time Annett would do so this season, and the final time as a full-time NASCAR driver.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 10, 2021) -- On Saturday, Michael Annett strapped into the No. 1 Pilot Flying J/Call of Duty Endowment Chevrolet for 200 laps at Phoenix Raceway.

It was the final time Annett would do so this season, and the final time as a full-time NASCAR driver.

"It's not forever, just for a while," was the way he signed off with Mike Bumgarner, Jonathan Davis and the rest of the No. 1 team as the engines fired at Phoenix. "One more time, 200 laps."

Annett is stepping away from the sport after 15 years to "do something else. I'm excited and happy for what's next even though I don't know for sure what that is yet, but I guess that's the exciting part," he said.

Coming off a 2020 season in which he earned 22 top-10 finishes in 33 races—a career high—Annett had high hopes that 2021 would be a logical extension of that success. A stress fracture in his right leg stopped that quest and also knocked him out of the quest for the NXS playoffs, though the No. 1 team easily made it in on the owner's side.

Prior to last week's season finale at Phoenix, Annett posted a note to his Twitter account. In it, he had this to say about his racing home for the past five seasons.

"JR Motorsports has been my home and family the last five years and I cannot thank everyone there enough for allowing me to be part of your family and staying with me, never giving up on me," he wrote.

 

 

Annett came to JRM in 2017 with sponsors Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation and Allstate Peterbilt, and 2017 was the first season in which JRM campaigned four full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series Chevrolets.

Annett's arrival in a fourth car was a huge turning point in JRM's history, and the combined four-car effort brought home a championship that season for William Byron. That momentum carried forward in 2018 when Tyler Reddick claimed the team's third series title (Chase Elliott won the first in 2014 when JRM had two full-time cars and occasionally ran a fourth).

That stability allowed Annett to grow as well, and the opening race of 2019 saw the Iowa native qualify a strong third and then lead the final 45 laps at Daytona to earn a victory, topping teammate Justin Allgaier.

That was huge for Annett...and for Pilot Flying J and the American Heart Association, which was a co-sponsor on the No. 1 for the Daytona race, the first of three that season.

"This is amazing," Annett said after the race. "My first words at the finish were ‘eight years,' because I've been in this series eight years. I couldn't have done this without these (Pilot Flying J/AHA No. 1 team) guys. They stuck with me through the hard times, when everybody counted us out. They worked their tails off on this American Heart Association/Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. We got the No. 1 team in Victory Lane this year, and our slogan is ‘One Team, One Dream, One Goal.' This was one of them, so we're starting off good."

Over the final four races with JRM, Annett ran near the front in all of them. He earned a ninth-place finish at Texas, running in the top five late in the going before Texas' infamous bump moved him out of the groove. At Kansas, Annett came from 12th to the cusp of the top five in the final flurry, eventually finishing seventh.

At Martinsville, Annett was running sixth on a restart late in the race when overeager drivers behind him forced a three-wide situation off Turn 2. One of them turned the Pilot Flying J/Call of Duty Endowment Chevrolet into the wall and ended his race with a broken radiator.

In his final race, Annett was in the top six for much of the final run only to get caught in a late-race snarl on the final restart. He would cross the line in 11th.

"I wanted to do this, 200 laps, one last time with my No. 1 JR Motorsports team and finish as high as we could to go out on a high note," he said when it was over in Phoenix. "You want to go out on the highest of highs. I can't thank Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation, Allstate Peterbilt Group and everyone who has supported me in my career enough."

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XFINITY Series Schedule

XFINITY Series Standings

After NXS Championship

Phoenix Raceway | 11/6/2021
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Daniel Hemric (P)40400
2Austin Cindric (P)4035-5
3Noah Gragson (P)4025-15
4AJ Allmendinger (P)4023-17
5Justin Allgaier2300-1740
6Justin Haley2244-1796
7Brandon Jones2239-1801
15Michael Annett638-3402
25Sam Mayer #338-3702