Being a racecar driver is a pretty cool job, something that many wish that they’d be able to do. Michael Annett is one of the drivers who has the chance to be on the race track every weekend, and enjoys every minute of it.
“There are a lot of people can be good at their job, but if they’re not enjoying it, then they’re looking for something else to do or can’t wait until 5 o’clock and be home. To be able to enjoy your work is the best thing in the world. To love your job is a huge blessing,” he commented.
Annett enters his second full year in the Sprint Cup Series, though with a new team. After driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing last year, Annett will run the full schedule for HScott Motorsports as a teammate for Justin Allgaier. Though while most of the young drivers are in their early 20s, Annett is 28 years old. While he is still feels young, he admits that he’s starting to feel like one of the older guys.
“I’d hope they feel like they can come to me for advice – maybe not always how to do things right but something I might have done wrong so I can tell them what I learned from it so they can maybe skip over that step of making mistakes,” he commented. “It’s an honor when a new guy comes into the sport and wants your advice.”
Annett driving for HScott Motorsports is something that came together late in the off-season, with the pieces just being finalized within the last couple of weeks.
“We had a full team Monday morning and the car got loaded last night,” Annett commented. “The biggest thing is that we wanted to get a crew chief first. Steve Addington and I and Harry Scott sat down. We didn’t want to build a team and then bring in the captain and say, ‘OK, here’s what you have to work with.’ We wanted to get Jay Guy hired, and he and Steve sat down and brought in people for interviews to build the team around Jay. That was a really important thing. A lot of guys would ask, ‘Well who’s your underneath guy? Who’s your crew chief?’ And I’d have to say I don’t know yet. We hadn’t hired him. But starting off with your captain and build the team he wants… I’d rather have some little issues early and be really good the rest of the year rather than saying that this person isn’t going to work out and have to replace him.”
Annett had a solid year, but is looking for more success this year in the form of consistent top 20 finishes. That strive for success will begin with the Daytona 500, which is a race that offers a chance for small and big teams to win, virtue of the great equalizer – the restrictor plate.
“That’s the cool thing about the Daytona 500,” Annett commented. “If 43 cars start, then 43 cars have a chance. We’ve seen that with a lot of superspeedway races all the way back to the Derrick Cope win. If your equipment holds up and if you get to the end, come that last lap everyone has a chance. That’s probably why some of the smaller teams circle those superspeedways because if you keep yourself in the top-30 of owners’ points there’s those four races where you have a really good chance of getting yourself in the Chase.”
Annett added that with the open format, it makes smaller team drivers able to have higher hopes in the off-season, knowing that they could possibly win the 500 as “that’s something you can’t say about the other races throughout the year”.
“There are different ways to look at it but you can’t not picturing yourself hoisting that trophy at Daytona and know you’re a Daytona 500 champion,” he continued. “It’s definitely special because there are a lot of big races you want to win. I’d love to win the Brickyard 400. I’ve always wanted a race at Texas or win the Southern 500. You want to win those races.”