Consistency, equipment, and driver talent are the key three components that make up driver Michael Annett and team Richard Petty Motorsports. Annett, 27, is starting the peak of his career on the right foot. One third into the season, he has scored top-15 finishes in all but two events. Annett contributes this success to the consistency earlier mentioned that Richard Petty Motorsports brings to the table.
“Even if my Pilot Flying J Ford isn’t where we need it to be handling wise at the beginning of the race, we are always able to make the necessary changes to have it driving how we need it to be the end of the race, usually our last 50 laps are our strongest and that has allowed us to drive into the top-10 and top-15 at the end of the races,” said Annett when asked about keys to his consistent driving.
For a number of drivers, switching teams could be one of the most challenging obstacles to overcome, but for Annett, it was smooth and so far outstandingly successful.
“The transition has been amazing and it’s a testament to the group of people Richard Petty Motorsports put together in such a short amount of time. Also, having the alliance we do with Roush Racing has given us the opportunity to have good cars even though we had such a late start to the season. It was nice to be able to jump right in and know that we would have Pilot Flying J cars that were competitive and capable of running well.”
Annett was the driver of the Pilot Flying J Toyota with Rusty Wallace Racing for two seasons, but due to economic struggles with Wallace’s team, Annett was forced to look for a new opportunity in the sport, and Annett landed with Petty in a Nationwide ride. But this isn’t just for one season, quite the contraire.
“It is going to be a multi-year partnership and I’m definitely looking forward to it, especially after seeing the success we have had early on this season.”
And, Annett is hopeful this partnership will go further than the series on Saturday.
“The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the goal, but we need to have success in the Nationwide Series first. We don’t want to go Cup racing just because we can; we need to make sure we prove ourselves in the Nationwide Series before we move to Cup.”
Annett is proud with the results that he and his team are producing, as he should. So far his average finishing position has improved three spots from 16th to 13th. However battling for top 20’s or top 10’s is a drastic change in a sport where about 25 cars are competitive week in and week out.
Concerning Annett’s future in the sport, goals for his future show that Annett strives to improve and reach the stars.
“We are happy with our consistency, but we can do better. We need to consistently be in the top-10 and turn that into consistently being in the top-five. Once we do that week-in and week-out we will be racing for wins at the ends of these races, and then the points will take care of themselves when we are consistently running up front.”
Upcoming years in his career will prove if the rising star hailing from Des Moines is Sprint Cup material. And if his mentality and attitude mean anything towards that decision to take the next step up, he should be projected to be the next superstar in NASCAR’s premiere series.