If Tyler Reddick didn’t suffer the flat tire during qualifying, then he would’ve had a great start.
Instead, he had to race from the very back row as Jeffrey Earnhardt led the way from Pole Position.
Earnhardt had enjoyed a near-perfect Stage 1 before Justin Haley swooped the Stage 1 win on the last lap.
At the start of Stage 2, Earnhardt hoped that he could regain the lead and stay there.
But having seen his No.18 Toyota gone loose, Earnhardt had to settle a spot outside the Top 10 in 15th.
Though, it’s only his first race on better equipment with Joe Gibbs Racing.
There will be more to come from Earnhardt to make an impact with eight particular races left this year.
From one driver to another with talent but without financial support, Ross Chastain entered the fray.
Having led for a while, Chastain held off fellow JGR driver Brandon Jones for the second checkpoint win.
The first 60 laps now done with another 60 laps uninterrupted towards the checkered flag.
Tyler Reddick had another opportunity to retain his lead having gone off from the front row at the restart.
But the debris fallen off from Brad Keselowski on Lap 71 saw a change of tactics on pit road.
From there, the solid pit stop play from Michael Annett led him won the race off pit road.
And that reward saw Annett hold off the lead long enough before he finally achieved his first win at 32 years old in his NXS career.
Well done from Michael Annett who at last came out of age and stuck to his game.
The same went to his Crew Chief Travis Mack having bounced back from his layoff last year at Leavine Family Racing.
So to have a Cup experienced Crew Chief help out Annett is the best way that JR Motorsports wanted to see at the start of 2019.
Beyond Annett, Brandon Jones had a great weekend in the No.19 Toyota.
B. Jones may not have made the second round of Playoffs after an indifferent 2018 campaign.
However, he’s learned his lesson and surely the 3rd place finish today will lead to consistency in the coming weeks.
B. Jones finished 2nd last year during April in Talladega so it’s not far from now that he can win his first NXS race any time soon.
And it’shis new Crew Chief Jeff Mendeering who’s here to revive B.Jones’s confidence & guide him to the top.
B. Jones currently leads this drivers’ standings table as he can make many more milestones in weeks to come.
And there are two drivers on a tight budget came home in the Top 10.
Ryan Sieg finished 4th who drives the No.39 Chevy for his independent team.
His team-mate Jeff Green came home three places behind Sieg in the sister No.93 seat.
To see this small team have both cars in the Top 10 is extraordinary.
Yes, it may not be easy.
But hard work and relentlessness paid off from start to finish as they finished off the weekend in style.
The first half was mostly a caution free race with plenty of promising drivers tussling for the lead.
But the debris caution within the final 60 laps saw Michael Annett give his chance at the restart.
From there, Annett held his game up high and fended off the whole pack before he celebrated in victory lane.
As long as he performs well every weekend, Annett can carry the legacy that Elliott Sadler had in the famous No.1 car.
It’s the promise that Annett will look at Sadler’s words of wisdom on each race weekend.
We’ll wait and see as Annett can still make an impact at JRM & last deliver them a championship.
For now, we look forward to the Daytona 500 tomorrow.
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