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Teamwork Helps Former Hawk at the Track


Jul 13, 2011
By Tim Harwood, Waterloo Black Hawks
Leading the field with the checkered flag coming out, former Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman Michael Annett was less than a lap away from his first NASCAR Nationwide series victory during the Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona on July 1st.
 
Two-car drafting, essential at Daytona where restrictor plates limit engine power, had helped Annett and teammate Steve Wallace climb through the pack. But both teammates’ chances for a victory ended when Wallace’s engine gave way on the final circuit.  Overtaken by other drafting pairs with full power, Annett still managed a sixth-place finish, matching his best result in stock car racing’s Triple-A series. It was the third of four top-ten finishes for Annett during the last five Nationwide races.
 
Although his teammate’s misfortune cost him a little, Annett’s move to Rusty Wallace Racing has helped him a lot, with strong finishes starting to accumulate during his third full year in the series. In previous seasons, Annett had been part of a single car team for Germain Racing.
 
“It’s been great to have another team to bounce ideas off of and share information with. The positives of being a part of a multi-car team have definitely shown in our recent finishes,” said Annett.
 
Four top-ten finishes already in 2011 match the 25-year-olds’ rookie season and surpass his stats from 2010. He’s found success on a variety of tracks, from the series’ most common 1.5 mile D-shaped ovals, to high-banked super speedways, to twisting road courses. After not finishing better than 13th early in the year, the run of top-tens began with a 9th place finish at Chicago on June 4th. Annett was 7th at Road America one week before Daytona, then finished 7th in Kentucky last Friday. 
 
"My crew chief, Rick Viers, made some great calls that got us right where we needed to be for the finish [last weekend]. We were really close on fuel towards the end, but we tried some fuel saving strategies that kept us from running out," said Annett, "I'm really proud of everyone on my team. They had great pit stops throughout the night and have been working really hard.”
 
The Des Moines native is now tied for ninth in Nationwide Series standings, just seven points behind Steve Wallace. As Annett makes his 90th career start Saturday, he’s hoping his crew chief’s experience at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will help the team to the front of the field once again. Viers won his first race atop the tool box at New Hampshire in 1999.
 
"We've really shown our strength these past few weeks and are positioned right where we need to be heading into this weekend's race at New Hampshire. From Michael to each crew member, everyone has been very supportive of what we are out to accomplish. That positive attitude has us on the right track,” said Viers.
 
Annett will try to make it back to the front in the New England 200 on the one-mile ring at Loudon.  The race begins at 2:30 Saturday. In additional to following Annett, who spent two seasons with the Black Hawks, fans can vote for him as their favorite NASCAR driver by visiting www.NASCAR.com/nnsmpd.
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