Michael Annett Out for Michigan Xfinity Series Race

Michael Annett

Getty Michael Annett poses for a photo prior to the Xfinity Series season.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series season continues with a trip to Michigan International Speedway. One driver will not make the trip while recovering from surgery. Michael Annett will continue to remain away from the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro and will miss his fourth race of the season.

JR Motorsports issued a press release on Wednesday, Aug. 18, confirming that Annett will miss another race after undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right femur. Annett had returned to the team for the Aug. 7 race at Watkins Glen International, but he made too quick of a return.

“Honestly, I was still pretty sore driving at Watkins Glen,” Annett said. “But I just wanted to be there for my guys and our Pilot Flying J team, and I may have been a little too eager to get back in the car. This time around, we’re going to take it slower and make sure I’m 100 percent. The plan is to take it one week at a time.”

The NASCAR Xfinity Series takes on Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 21. The New Holland 250 will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET with NBC Sports Network providing coverage.

A Teammate Will Replace Annett Once Again

With the veteran driver out of the lineup for another race, JR Motorsports will rely on another driver to keep the No. 1 competitive at Michigan. Josh Berry will replace Annett for the second time in 2021, days after landing a full-time ride with the team for 2022.

Berry previously replaced his teammate during the July 17 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He started 21st overall and raced his way to an eighth-place finish, his ninth top-10 finish of the year spread across three different stock cars.

While Berry has shown his ability to be competitive across a variety of tracks and in multiple vehicles, he will take on a new challenge when he returns to the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro. He has no previous starts at the two-mile oval track but will strive to keep performing at a high level without any practice sessions.

A Previous Absence Hurt Annett’s Playoff Chances

When Annett missed races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway, NASCAR approved a playoff waiver that kept him above the playoff cut line. However, the situation changed after Annett returned at Watkins Glen and then missed the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

With the driver of the No. 1 out of the lineup, another bubble driver turned in a strong performance. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Riley Herbst raced his way to an eighth-place finish and racked up 40 crucial points. Chase Elliott, who replaced Annett, finished fourth overall but did not earn any points for the outing.

This performance became enough to launch Herbst back into the playoff picture. He took a 10-point lead over Annett and knocked the JR Motorsports driver back below the playoff cut line. Herbst now has the advantage with five races remaining in the regular season, and he will push to lock up even more points at a track where he has barely any experience in the Xfinity Series.

Herbst has only made one start at Michigan, but he did not remain on the track for very long. He started 30th overall during the 2019 race while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing but crashed after 12 laps and headed to the garage. He finished 37th while Tyler Reddick raced to Victory Lane.

While he has one start at Michigan in the Xfinity Series, Herbst had headed to the two-mile oval four other times. He took on the track while competing in the ARCA Menards Series and posted two top-five finishes. He was the runner-up behind Sheldon Creed in 2018 but won the 2020 race.

READ NEXT: Championship Contenders Face Off in Michigan Starting Lineup

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x