It's early to call it a hot streak, but Michael Annett is enjoying a modest upswing heading to New England this weekend. In doing so, Annett is making one of NASCAR's most iconic numbers glisten anew.
Annett had made 119 career starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series without a top-five finish. Entering Saturday's F.W. Webb 200 (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Annett suddenly has two top-fives in a row -- fourth at Kentucky and third at Daytona.
"We have a ton of momentum going into Saturday's race after coming off my best-career finish last weekend in Daytona," Annett said. "My team improves each and every week. I can't wait to get to the track this weekend and see what kind of a Pilot Flying J Ford they have prepared. We have increased our finishing position by one spot the past two weeks, so, if we continue that this week we should come home with a second-place run."
Annett is currently in his first year driving Richard Petty Motorsports' famed No. 43 and working with veteran crew chief Philippe Lopez. The recent spike in performance couldn't be more well-timed -- his effort at Daytona qualified him for a shot at a six-figure payday.
Annett, series points leader Elliott Sadler, defending series champ Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and top rookie Austin Dillon are eligible for a $100,000 bonus from Nationwide Insurance at New Hampshire through the four-race Dash 4 Cash incentive program. The highest-finishing driver among those four will cash in Saturday.
Sadler, Dillon and Stenhouse continue to control the top three spots in Nationwide standings, with Sadler eight points up on Dillon and 18 ahead of Stenhouse. Dillon will compete this weekend without crew chief Danny Stockman Jr., who drew a two-race suspension Tuesday for technical violations at Daytona. The same penalty also cost Dillon six points in the season-long standings.