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.”

Donny Schatz edges Kyle Larson for Outlaws victory at Lake Ozark

Trent Gower/World of Outlaws
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Donny Schatz made a last-lap pass on Kyle Larson, snatching a World of Outlaws victory Saturday night at Lake Ozark Speedway.

Larson started on the pole, led 30 of 35 laps and was in control until a caution set up a two-lap shootout to the finish before a limited crowd in Eldon, Missouri.

Schatz and Larson traded the lead twice over the final two laps, but the 10-time champion emerged with his first victory since the NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series returned in mid-May from a two-month layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

‘THEY’VE STUCK BEHIND ME’: Kyle Larson comments on future, Outlaws plans

“Man, I don’t know what to say, but Kyle’s a damn good racer,” Schatz, who led five laps, told DirtVision after his 296th Outlaws win. “I kind of had to go where he didn’t. We got that green-white-checkered, and I decided I was going to send it. He decided the same thing.

Donny Schatz celebrates at Lake Ozark Speedway after his second Outlaws Sprint Car victory of the season (Trent Gower).

“I’m glad to get the win. It feels like it’s been forever. I’ve been out here 24 years, and every night is a learning experience still.”

Larson finished second in his fifth start since he began racing with the Outlaws after being suspended from NASCAR.

“Obviously, it would have been nice to get the win,” Larson said on DirtVision. “I figured Donny would rip the middle. The restarts before, he’d almost clear me in (turns) 3 and 4. I should have known to protect and block his momentum. I felt I exited 2 OK. We don’t have spotters or rearview mirrors so you can’t see how close he is or really hear it when the pace is so slow.

“I just didn’t do a good enough job to run a smarter final couple of laps.”

Brad Sweet, Larson’s brother in law, finished third, with Shane Stewart and David Gravel rounding out the top five.

Larson rebounded from a 10th in Friday’s feature at Lake Ozark Speedway, continuing his streak of top-10 finishes in all five of his starts since the Outlaws’ return.

“We got our car a lot better from last night, so that was a plus,” said Larson, who finished second and first in back-to-back nights last week at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at Pevely, Missouri. “These guys are really tough. To be on the podium with Donny and Brad, they’ve won lots of big races and championships, it’s nice. I just didn’t do what I needed to do that last restart.”

Larson nearly had a flawless night Saturday, turning a 11.426-second lap to capture his second pole position this season and won the pole dash to start first in the feature.

Larson, who was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing from his NASCAR Cup Series ride last month for using a racial slur in an iRacing event, said last week that he plans to run several more NOS Energy Sprint Car Series races this year.

Larson remains indefinitely suspended by NASCAR but was approved to race by the Outlaws after completing sensitivity training.