DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Not a bad Daytona debut for a former hockey player who traded in his sticks for stick-shifts.
Michael Annett, making his first appearance at Daytona International Speedway, drove away from the field and held off Justin Allgaier by 0.256 seconds to win Saturday’s season opener in the Automobile Racing Club of America series.
The win is the second in ARCA for Annett, 21, with Bill Davis Racing. He also won last fall’s race at Talladega, Ala. Annett plans to run between 10 and 12 ARCA events with BDR this season and perhaps some NASCAR events later this year.
“These tracks are a lot of fun. I’ve done two races on superspeedways. Can’t wait to see what we have with the intermediate tracks,” he said.
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Annett, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, grew up playing hockey and turned to racing when he reached his 18th birthday.
“Hockey was something I wanted to do growing up and racing was something I wanted to do. Mom chose hockey; she wasn’t going to let me race until I turned 18,” Annett said.
“I told her, ‘I’m going racing and it would be great if you went with me.’ She did and she was here tonight and had tears in her eyes, so I think she made the right choice.”
Bill Baird finished third. Last year’s winner, Bobby Gerhart, was fourth and reigning series champion Frank Kimmel recovered from an early race accident and finished fifth.
Justin Marks, who started from the pole, and former Formula One driver Scott Speed, who started second, were both eliminated from contention early. Speed wrecked on Lap 29 and finished 39th Marks wrecked on Lap 53 and ended up 26th.