DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.
NASCAR placed Michael Annett on probation five days after the Nationwide Series racer was arrested on charges of driving with a blood alcohol level four times above the legal limit.
Car owner Rusty Wallace said Annett will drive in the season-opening Nationwide race next weekend at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR also announced Annett will be evaluated by a substance abuse professional and is subject to random alcohol and drug tests.
According to police reports, Annett rear-ended a car stopped at a red light in Mooresville, N.C., early Sunday morning. Annett registered a blood alcohol content of .32. He was charged with driving while intoxicated, failure to reduce speed, texting while driving and resisting a public officer.
Wallace said he placed Annett on zero-tolerance alcohol policy and Annett will perform community service and attend alcohol awareness sessions. Wallace, though, said he would not suspend Annett or keep him from driving his car.
“I have 65 employees and 65 families that are affected by this, the last thing I’m going to do is put anybody out of work because I’ve got to park the car,” Wallace said. “Pilot Travel Centers is sponsoring his car because they love Michael.
“I can’t let the whole entire team down and fire all the employees because there’s no sponsor without him in that car. Let’s face it, he helped bring a lot of the sponsors to that car.”
Logano posts top speed in final practice
Joey Logano topped 203 mph in Friday night’s final practice before tonight’s Budweiser Shootout.
Logano ran 203.087 mph as he was pushed by Kyle Busch (203.082 mph) in a two-car draft. Instead of the typical multi-car packs, Friday’s practices featured two-car drafts that helped rocket cars beyond 200 mph, some of the fastest laps turned at this track for stock cars in nearly 25 years.
Logano was 1 of 10 drivers (out of 24 in tonight’s race) to exceed 200 mph in Friday’s practice.
Cup will switch to fuel injection next year
NASCAR announced it will move to fuel injection next year in the Cup series only. The move, though, won’t mean the end of carburetor restrictor plates, which are used to reduce horsepower at Daytona and Talladega.
Freescale Semiconductor and McLaren Electronic Systems will partner to create the fuel injection system.
Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, said he was confident the fuel injection system will be “cheat-proof.”
Harvick stirs emotions with kickoff speech
Kevin Harvick’s teammates noted the emotional speech Harvick gave at a recent season kickoff luncheon at Richard Childress Racing. Clint Bowyer said Harvick even had tears.
“That was different,” Bowyer said. “But he was serious, I can promise you that.”
So what got Harvick so emotional?
“I just wanted to make sure everybody understood how important these weeks were and making sure that you are able to understand the magnitude of this weekend and how much it all means to hundreds of us at that company to come down here and be successful and how important it would be to race for a championship and try to win it on this particular year,” Harvick said, also alluding to the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s fatal crash.
“It’s just there are a lot of us that are around it and obviously I didn’t have a great close personal relationship with Dale so it’s more about knowing how emotional a lot of the guys in the company and Richard were and you saw how down they were and how tore up they were. When you think back about all that stuff everybody went through a lot. It’s important for everyone to understand the magnitude of this weekend.”
Chad Knaus, crew chief for Jimmie Johnson, said the team selected its six pit crew members for this weekend’s Budweiser Shootout but is developing greater depth to avoid having to replace the entire unit as he did during last year’s Chase…. Ty Dillon, grandson of car owner Richard Childress, won the pole for today’s ARCA race.