JR Motorsports driver Michael Annett entered the race weekend with the goal of competing in both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the Xfinity Series. However, news surfaced ahead of both races that he would not climb into the race cars, sparking several questions among racing fans. JRM has now revealed that Annett is dealing with a leg injury, placing his status in doubt for future races.
The Athletic’s Jordan Bianchi first broke the news that Annett would miss the Credit Karma Money 250 on Saturday, July 10. He did not have a reason at the time but later spoke to JRM director of competition Ryan Pemberton, who revealed that Annett has a leg injury. Bianchi later reported that the driver of the No. 1 JRM Chevrolet Camaro has dealt with the issue for a few weeks.
Annett has surgery scheduled for Monday, July 19, after the Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. However, Pemberton and JRM have not made a decision about whether Annett will compete during the race or if he will miss his second consecutive week.
A Cup Series Driver Served as a Late Replacement
When news surfaced that Annett would miss the July 10 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, questions swirled about who would climb into the No. 1 and replace him. One option was Josh Berry, who made 12 starts for JRM. However, the former driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro already had a commitment to drive for Jordan Anderson Racing.
Pemberton also asked BJ McLeod if he would be able to make the start in place of Annett. The driver-owner attempted to help out JRM, but the crew could not get him fitted for the stock car in time. Fortunately for the race team, Cup Series driver Austin Dillon was present at the track and available to make a last-minute start.
Despite having no time to prepare for the stock car or the race, Dillon turned in a strong performance. He started sixth at AMS and raced his way to an 11th-place finish. Though he fought for position in the top five with only 22 laps remaining. He ultimately fell back due to having worse tires than the other contenders.
JRM Will Have More Time to Plan for a Potential Absence
Dillon stepped in at the perfect time for JRM and turned in a solid performance in the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro. Now that the race is over, the Xfinity Series team can plan for the future and another potential absence.
There are several drivers that could step in and replace Annett if he does indeed miss the July 17 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Berry is the obvious choice, provided he does not make another start for Jordan Anderson Racing. He has experience with JRM, and he has performed consistently well in 2021 for multiple teams.
If Berry is not available, JRM could potentially reach out to multiple Cup Series drivers. The men at the top level of stock car racing routinely seek out opportunities to test their skills on the various tracks, regardless of whether the courses are new to the series. Dillon could potentially make a second consecutive start for JRM considering that he only has two Xfinity Series races on his 2021 calendar. Per NASCAR rules, he can suit up three more times.