NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Michael Annett drove his No. 7 CypressHQ Chevrolet SS to a 22nd-place finish Sunday night at Texas Motor Speedway.
After starting 33rd, Annett passed five cars within the first three laps and eventually moved to 27th prior to the day's first caution-flag pit stop on lap 44. Remedying a tight handling condition, Annett's Tommy Baldwin Racing crew gave him a tire pressure adjustment in addition to new tires and fuel.
Though Annett felt the car was too loose exiting the corners, he maintained his running position until a round of green-flag pit stops allowed him to rocket to 17th. When the pit cycle completed, Annett reacquired his 27th-place spot. The ensuing run gave Annett time to experiment with lines around the 1.5-mile track while other drivers utilized multiple grooves in the midst of a long green-flag run.
Another green-flag stop on lap 142 saw Annett cycle to 19th and leave pit road in 28th, where he would run until lap 170. A pit stop on lap 175 permitted Annett to pick up two more spots on the track, while his TBR crew gave him wholesale adjustments - to the tire pressure, wedge and track bar - to prepare him for the most vital stretch of the race.
From laps 200 to 305, crew chief Kevin "Bono" Manion pitted Annett four times, primarily for fuel strategy purposes but also because Annett's No. 7 fell victim to a runaway tire casing from the car of fellow driver Kyle Busch. The hard rubber damaged the lower part of the CypressHQ Chevrolet SS's grille and a part of the splitter. Over the course of these stops, the TBR crew patched the nose of the car well enough to allow Annett to cut through the air as he normally would.
He also gained positions during that 105-lap span, leaping from 28th to as high as 19th, before settling in at 22nd place. Following one final pit stop that saw him relinquish a seventh-place running position on lap 321, Annett survived a barrage of late restarts to finish on the lead lap in 22nd.
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