For the past several years he has been in the NASCAR Nationwide series but no wins or championships to show for it, but that could all change this year. Michael Annett, driver of the No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, spoke with me briefly during the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway to explain why 2013 is his year. Coming over struggles and riding an up and down rollercoaster is something that has become fashion to Annett, but he wants to make this coaster to keep on going upwards.
The 2012 season was the best on record for Annett who finished fifth in points, and whose highest finishing position was fifth as well. “Could look back last year and say yes for sure, but then there could be other years that we don’t,” Annett said when asked about the Nationwide series having a Chase format similar to the Cup series. This debate has been going on for a couple of years of whether the other two big National series, Nationwide and Camping World Trucks, should have a chase format. It looks like with NASCAR’s rule of choosing one series to run for the championship, it has helped solved the points battles in all of the series. “We were just missing that little bit” Annett says looking back on the 2012 season, “need to come off more competitive and put that into the other guys’ head.”
Looking towards this season, Annett could not come off more excited to get the season started and underway as he goes for wins and the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship. “It is going to be tough,” Annett mentioned about the competition this season, especially with Trevor Bayne in a full time ride with Roush Fenway, not to mention that team has won back to back titles in the Nationwide series. Annett is most looking forward to racing at Daytona because of the prestigious that goes into that event as well as getting to Phoenix to prove early that he is a contender this season. “Championship is our goal, as long as we are here we are battling, but we do need to win first” Annett continued on speaking about his shot at battling with drivers such as Elliott Sadler, Sam Hornish Jr, and Bayne.
The Richard Petty driver also spoke on how it is to drive for NASCAR’s King, Richard Petty, “It’s amazing, fun work off the track with charities, get to interact with lots of people. He has taught me how to treat people and that the fans are why we are here. I am just fortunate.” Annett moved to RPR at the beginning of the 2012 season after Rusty Wallace Racing closed down their Nationwide division at the end of 2011. Some of the charity events that Annette gets to be involved with include golf tournaments and go kart races. Being the King, Richard Petty has his own karting event called the King’s Cup which is about three hours in length and helps raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp; a camp founded in memory of Richard’s grandson Adam Petty. The King’s Cup is a race that is held at Victory Lane Karting (VLK) and Annett spoke highly of the facility saying, “Victory Lane Karting is where you can say you raced,” meaning if you want a feel as to how it feels to race in the Nationwide series check out VLK.
Is 2013 going to be Annett’s season? Is he going to finally win a Nationwide series race? Will he contend and possibly take the title from Roush, after winning it two years in a row? Only time will tell, but you can count on Annett to be at the front each time he takes to the track as he is determined more than ever to prove he belongs in the highest ranks of motorsports.
For photos from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway please click here.