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)
Michael Annett in victory lane at Daytona.