Annett Makes History With Daytona ARCA Victory by Penny Aicardi
Toyota Camry Gets Its First Win at Daytona
Bill Davis Racing’s Michael Annett is getting used to making history.

Late in the 2007 season Annett became the first driver in the 55-year history of the ARCA RE/MAX Series to take the Toyota nameplate to victory lane. Saturday night, the 21-year-old driver became the first driver to put Toyota Camry in victory lane at the prestigious Daytona International Speedway.
And perhaps a little history put luck on their side. The team used the same pit box that Ward Burton had when he won the Daytona 500 in 2002. In a race marred with cautions – 34 laps in total – Annett was in the right places at the right times.

“There was a bunch of us on new tires, and they were so much better. We were able to get to the outside and squeak through by a hair. The guy behind me got taken out,” said Annett about a lap 30 accident that not only ended the day of Max Dumarey, Kyle Krisiloff, and Scott Speed, but dampened what otherwise may have been a strong day for Justin Marks.

Annett started the race from third, pitted with the leaders at lap 22, drafted with Bobby Gerhart to move into second and grab the eventual win. In the end, no one could catch the determined Annett.

“I just have all the confidence in the world when I get in these cars. Bill Davis Racing puts so much effort into these cars. I was able to move down by the shop and see the heart and determination that goes into it and it’s just an honor to be able to come on the weekends and drive them,” he said. “We didn’t qualify where we wanted to – we really wanted the pole – but we had a good car for the draft.”

This was only Annett’s fifth career ARCA start, but it was his second victory and his fifth top-10 finish. Impressive for someone who got his start in racing only three years ago. Annett almost made his mark in a different sport.  He signed a contract to play professional hockey for Team Illinois (a tier one AAA team), gave up his hockey career to go racing at 18 years old.

“I always tell people I really, really like hockey, but I love racing. I did the hockey thing for about 13 years so it was time,” he explained. “When I turned 18 I kind of told my Mom that I was going racing and it would be great if she came with me. She was here tonight and she’s got tears in her eyes so I think she knows I made the right choice.”
Michael Annett became the first driver to nose a Toyota Camry to victory at Daytona.   (ARCA / Bob Costanzo Photos)
Annett will compete in 10-12 races in a driver development program for Bill Davis Racing as well as participate in a testing program under the direction of competition director, Tommy Baldwin.

Justin Allgaier, Bill Baird, Bobby Gerhart, and Frank Kimmel rounded out the top five.

Kimmel came from the tail end of the field to post his top-five after using a champions’ provisional to get in the race.

A total of five drivers led the ARCA 200 including Speed, who started the race from the outside pole, Marks and Tom Hessert III, who finished sixth. Annett led the most laps at 32. Six cautions slowed the race for 34 laps with one red flag being waved at lap 30 for the multi-car pileup.

2008 ARCA RE/MAX SERIES DAYTONA 200
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
FINISHING ORDER

1.Michael Annett
2.Justin Allgaier
3.Bill Baird
4.Bobby Gerhart
5.Frank Kimmel
6.Tom Hessert III
7.Landon Cassill
8.Dawayne Bryan
9.Brad Baker
10.Dario Franchitti
11.John Wes Townley
12.Mike Harmon
13.Matt Carter
14.Darrell Basham
15.Patrick Sheltra
16.JR Heffner
17.Brandon Kelley
18.Tayler Malsam
19.Ken Butler III
20.Gabi DiCarlo
21.Tim Mitchell
22.Dexter Bean
23.Nur Ali
24.Pierre Bourque
25.Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
26.Justin Marks
27.Benny Chastain
28.Danny Sammons
29.Brad Smith
30.Jack Bailey
31.Norm Benning
32.Mario Gosselin
33.Dominick Casola
34.Kirk Shelmerdine
35.Terry Jones
36.Bryan Silas
37.Max Dumarey
38.Kyle Krisiloff
39.Scott Speed
40.Brian Scott
41.Alli Owens
42.Ed Kennedy
43.Ryan Fischer




Michael Annett in victory lane at Daytona.