Racing has been in Michael Annett’s blood since birth.
The 22-year-old Nationwide Series rookie’s first racing experience literally came days after his birthday when he attended the Knoxville Nationals less than one week after being born. Since that day in Knoxville, Iowa, Annett found success on ice where he was once a highly-touted hockey star and most recently back on the track where he will compete for Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year honors for Germain Racing.
“I think Wednesday I was born and the Nationals start on Wednesday and end on Saturday. We ended up getting there by Saturday,” admits Annett. “Knoxville’s about 20 minutes from my hometown and I think I’ve only missed one year in the past 22 years.”
Annett rolls off the grid today from the 18th starting spot at a track where he won the ARCA season opener in 2008. Driving for Germain Racing, Annett inherits the former No. 7 (now No. 15) car that Mike Wallace drove to eighth in the final standings in 2008. With just one Nationwide start, a DNF in the season finale at Homestead, Annett knows it may take some time to get acclimated to the new car with NASCAR’s testing ban.
“It makes the learning curve that much steeper because there’s a lot of tracks I haven’t been to. It’s going to make it tough, but the reason I chose Germain Racing is because there’s so many people and tools there that I can use to help me get over that learning curve,” he said. “I’m sure the first half of the season’s gonna be tough, but we’re just looking for consistent finishes early on, then we’ll go for race wins after that.”
In that Homestead race Annett started 29th in a second Germain Racing entry and logged only 138 laps of the 200 laps. Still, he believes that one start gave him a brief glimpse of what the upcoming season will be like.
“It gave me a chance to see what this year is going to be all about. I was in the Truck Series and I’d watch the Nationwide races on TV, but you don’t appreciate that you’re running against the best of the best because of all the Cup guys,” he admitted. “It was a humbling experience. I know I have a lot of work to do get to where these guys are at.”
With success at the superspeedways in the ARCA series – wins at Talladega in 2007 and Daytona in 2008 – Annett sees today’s race as a chance to gain some confidence before hitting NASCAR’s intermediate tracks for the first time. He’s unsure what starts he will make in other series, but says the possibility is there to run ARCA, truck and Nationwide Series races because of Germain’s presence in each series.
One thing Annett is sure about what another win at Daytona would mean to him.
“I’d be happy to win a tricycle race,” he exclaimed. “Any race here that you can win is saying something because it’s probably the hardest race to win, You’ve got to be the luckiest guy to win here.