Annett wins ARCA race in Toyota
ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Michael Annett survived the "big one" at Daytona. The Des Moines, Iowa driver also held off what was left of the hungry pack for the final 32 laps to take home the biggest victory of his career Saturday afternoon at Daytona Int'l Speedway, winning the 45th annual ARCA 200 at Daytona.
Annett, in the No. 28 Bill Davis-owned Pilot Travel Centers Toyota, finished three lengths in front of Justin Allgaier.
"We didn't qualify where we wanted to qualify," said Annett, who started third. "We wanted the pole, but we knew we had a good car in the draft. These tracks are a lot of fun and being in a Bill Davis Toyota makes it even more fun. The only two tracks I've raced in with Bill Davis was the restrictor plate tracks and we won both of those so I can't wait to see how I tackle these intermediate tracks. We're looking at doing about 10-12 ARCA races with Bill Davis Racing."
Allgaier's second-place finish marked his career best superspeedway effort in his family-owned No. 16 AG Tech-Hoosier Tire Midwest Chevrolet. It also earned the Springfield, Illinois driver the Casite Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions.
"Towards the end we started moving up and old Bill [Baird] really pushed me up," said Allgaier. "We were just trying to get the best finish we could. If you look at the competition, there were some amazing cars here today. We qualified 30th and we felt like we had a better racing car than our qualifying car but it was obviously a lot better than we thought."
Baird, the 1999 ARCA RE/MAX Series driving champion, finished third a Ken Schrader-owned Saturn Machine Dodge.
"It was a busy week," said Baird. "We qualified 17th and the second lap of final practice here we got taken out. We missed the crashes [in today's race]. I'm basically retired from racing but that's why I still come back here, I still have the dream. We were hoping the field would break out at the end there but there was just no one to do it with so we settled for third."
Five-time Daytona champion Bobby Gerhart, the defending race winner, finished fourth in the No. 5 Lucas Oil Chevrolet.
"I missed it (the big wreck), but I was part of it," said Gerhart. "A couple of guys wrecked up there; we all bunched up and I just couldn't get stopped. I was a sitting duck with a big hole in the car, and it was pretty obvious after that. We put a little patch on it and I got right back in it. We'll be back next year and start the string all over again."
Nine-time series champion Frank Kimmel, after starting 43rd, finished fifth in his own No. 44 Prestolite-Riverside Auto Parts Dodge.
"We didn't have a winning car, for sure, but to come out with a top five with that car today is like a win for us, for sure," said Kimmel. "It was a real important day, with Riverside Auto Parts, Prestolite Wire coming out. It's a pretty rewarding day when all your friends come out to help you."
At the onset, SIM Factory Pole Award winner Justin Marks swapped the lead with Formula One veteran Scott Speed for the first 23 laps before series rookie Tom Hessert took over the top spot on lap 24. Hessert led the next 21 circuits during which a multi-car wreck off turn four brought out the red flag while track officials cleaned up.
The accident occurred on lap 30 when Kyle Krisiloff and Marks bounced off one another triggering a multi-car pile-up that eliminated some key players including Speed, Krisiloff, Kirk Shelmerdine, Mario Gosselin and Jack Bailey to name a few. There were no injuries; however 13 cars were eliminated among the 16 cars involved.
When racing resumed, Hessert came down pit road for a scheduled pit stop giving the lead to Gerhart, who led up through lap 48. However, Annett, clearly one of the quickest machines all day, charged to the front on lap 49 and never relinquished the lead. Despite a solid line of lead-lap cars behind him for the remainder of the race, Annett, with no drafting help, was able to pull away as necessary.
Hessert, making his career-first start, finished sixth in the Maaco Auto Painting Ford earning the SunTrust Highest Finishing Rookie of the Race honors. Hendrick Motorsports rookie Landon Cassill finished seventh in the Stanley-Vidmar-Proto Chevrolet. Dawayne Bryan was eighth followed by Brad Baker in ninth and Dario Franchitti in 10th.
The next event on the ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule is at Salem Speedway in Salem, Indiana on Sunday, April 13th.
||Pilot Travel Centers
||Riverside Auto Parts
||Tom Hessert III
||MAACO Auto Painting
||Hi Tech Construction
||John Wes Townley
||Elite 2 Racing
||Fort Dodge Animal Health
||Darrell Basham Racing
||Park East Sales
||Ken Butler III
||Star Wheels Skate Center
||Mark Gibson Racing
||Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
||Jack Bailey Jr.
||Eddie D'Hondt Racing
||James Carter Attorney
||A. Casloa Farms
||Bobby Gerhart Racing
||Bob Schacht Motorsports
||Ralph Solhem Racing