NASCAR: HScott announces second car for Michael Annett

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HScott Motorsports will expand to a two-car operation in the Sprint Cup Series this year with the addition of second-year driver Michael Annett.

Last week, Motor Racing Network announcer Dave Moody had reported on his blog that Annett would be going to HScott and take his Pilot/Flying J Truck Stops sponsorship with him.

Indeed, the team confirmed today on the NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte that such backing would be with Annett, who joins forces with fellow sophomore driver Justin Allgaier.

Neither a crew chief or a car number for Annett was announced.

“We’re really excited to have Michael on board and looking forward to working with him, getting to know him, and putting some equipment under him that can really showcase his talent,” said team owner Harry Scott Jr., who added that his goal is to have the team rise into the Top 20 in Cup points this year.

“Having an additional car is gonna provide some economies of scale for us, and basically double our resources and double our data points. I’ve had multiple conversations with [Allgaier’s crew chief/team competition director] Steve Addington about his plan and he’s got a solid plan to make the best of having two cars this year and utilize our resources to get even better.”

Annett noted that as fellow rookies, he and Allgaier were initially parked together in the garages last year. But as Allgaier and HScott began to pick up the pace in the second half of 2014 (eight Top-20 finishes in Allgaier’s final 15 starts), Annett saw Allgaier get “further and further away from me to ask questions.”

That made an impression on Annett, and when a late-developing chance came along to join Allgaier and HScott, he took it.

“I think I got into the sport about the time [team owner] Harry [Scott] was getting into it,” Annett said. “And to see what every organization he’s come into – whether it was K&N [Pro Series], XFINITY, [Camping World] Truck Series – it doesn’t take very long at all for them to have success and I think we saw that last year with having a brand-new Cup team.

“To be able to jump right into an organization that I feel like was really on a roll last year and is gonna keep going and keep getting better is just a huge opportunity for me.”

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.