Michael Annett will not make the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs, but for unfortunate circumstances. Hours before Friday’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway, JR Motorsports announced Annett has re-injured his right leg while exercising and will skip the race; being the final race of the regular season and with Annett being too far back in points, he is out of postseason contention. Josh Berry will replace him in the #1 Chevrolet Camaro for Bristol.
In July, Annett suffered a stress fracture in his right femur while working out. He attempted to race with the injury before the pain proved to be too much, forcing him out of the #1 for Atlanta and New Hampshire, with Austin Dillon and Berry respectively filling in; he also had to skip the Camping World Truck Series race at Knoxville and was replaced by Chris Windom.
He returned to the #1 at Watkins Glen, where he finished eleventh, before skipping the next two rounds at Indianapolis and Michigan while he recovered from surgery; Chase Elliott and Berry served as his backups. Upon being cleared to race again, he ran the next three races. However, he hurt the leg in another workout accident.
Entering Bristol, Annett was thirteenth in points with eight top tens and a best finish of third at Road America (his final race before the initial injury). To make the playoffs, he would have needed to crack the top twelve (he was thirty-four points behind twelfth-placed Myatt Snider) or win the Bristol race. Despite the four missed races, Annett would still be eligible for the playoffs had he qualified as NASCAR provides injury waivers.
After running much of the first half of the season in JRM’s #8, Berry has taken up more of a substitute role; he replaced Kris Wright in the Trucks at Atlanta and Justin Haley and Corey LaJoie in the Cup Series at Dover due to COVID-19, and currently drives Rackley WAR‘s truck after Timothy Peters‘ departure. In eighteen Xfinity starts in 2021, including three for Jordan Anderson Racing, he has ten top tens, five top fives, and a win at Martinsville. He will join JRM full-time for 2022.