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CONCORD, N.C. – Richard Petty Motorsports announced the formation of a new NASCAR Nationwide Series team with driver Michael Annett and his long-time partner Pilot Flying J. The team will be run out of RPM’s Concord, N.C. race shop and will vie for the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship.
Annett, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, comes to Richard Petty Motorsports after spending last season at Rusty Wallace, Inc. He has posted 13 top-10 finishes in 105 Nationwide Series starts and drove to a ninth-place finish in the championship points standings last season.
"They say that when one door closes, another door opens, and that is most definitely true," said Annett. "We were left scrambling a bit because of the situation with RWI and were unsure what the future held, but I couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out. To have the chance to race for Richard Petty and to be under the RPM umbrella is amazing. It has all come together really quickly, but together with Pilot Flying J and Ford, this is the best opportunity I have ever had to race a Nationwide Series car. There’s a lot to be done before we get to Daytona in a few weeks and I can’t wait to dive in and get started."
"It’s exciting to have the opportunity to partner with a brand as prestigious as Pilot Flying J," said team Co-owner Richard Petty. "We are happy to welcome them to the Richard Petty Motorsports family and to our partner family as well.
"This has been an exciting couple of months for Richard Petty Motorsports," continued Petty. "We are looking forward to getting back into the Nationwide Series full time and seeing what Michael Annett can do in an RPM Ford Mustang. Michael has improved every season he has raced in the Nationwide Series and has the dedication and drive to be a success."
"Pilot Flying J is excited for Michael and our new partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports," stated Mark Hazelwood, Executive Vice President, Pilot Flying J. "PFJ has had a longstanding relationship with both Michael and the Petty family. Richard Petty is a NASCAR legend and this opportunity further extends our commitment to Michael and the sport. We look forward to a great partnership."
Born into a family with a rich racing heritage, Annett began his own racing career in 2007 competing in the ARCA Series. In only his fourth start, Annett drove his Pilot Travel Centers machine to victory lane at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. He drove to victory once again in the ARCA Series the next season at Daytona International Speedway and also piloted an entry in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in eight events that season. In 2009, he moved to the Nationwide Series with Germain Racing and posted four top-10 finishes en route to a 10th-place effort in the point standings. He remained at Germain through 2010 and in 2011 competed for RWI.