Annett Makes History

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TALLADEGA, Ala. - Michael Annett made history on Friday at Talladega Superspeedway as he became the first driver in ARCA RE/MAX Series history to win driving a Toyota Camry.

In just his fourth start, Annett was able to hold off the defending race winner Frank Kimmel at the finish line to capture his first career win.

The Des Moines, Iowa native, who spent last season on the short track ASA Late Model Challenge Series, found victory lane in what turned out to be a short period of time. The win also came in one of the most competitive fields in ARCA history.

“There was a lot of heavy hitters with a lot of horsepower and a lot of Cup backings, so you know it was going to be a tough race no matter who you are driving for,” said Annett, who was driving for Bill Davis Racing. “That just makes it all the better to get a win here."

Kimmel locked up his ninth career ARCA title and the 2007 Bill France Triple Crown with the runner-up finish, which came after his closest championship contender Michael McDowell was sidelined.

McDowell was involved in one of the day's multi-car accidents. He was uninjured in the melee, which began when he cut a tire in Turn 3, but his race - and title hopes - were done.

"It's cool to lock up our ninth championship," Kimmel said. "We had to work very, very hard. McDowell actually outran us most of the year. He was very quick at a lot of places. He beat us up pretty bad at times. We were just able to be a little more consistent and finish more races."

Dominick Casola finished third in his first restrictor-plate race driving the No. 1 Ford.

"It definitely got a little hairy out there," Casola said. "It's a lot different than Playstation that's for sure."

Richard Johns and Billy Venturini rounded out the top five.

Former Formula One driver Scott Speed, who will race in the series full time next season, finished seventh in his debut behind the wheel of the No. 21 Red Bull Toyota.

“It was incredible," Speed said. "There was so much going on there. It’s such a contrast from what I’ve been use to my whole life running in open-wheel stuff. Overall experience was fantastic."

Roush Fenway driver Colin Braun scored his third career top 10 in just as many starts after finishing ninth in the No. 99 Ford.

Dario Franchitti, winner of this year's Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series champsionship, came home 17th in his first stock car start with Chip Ganassi Racing.

“It was a lot of fun out there," Franchitti said. "I’m disappointed with the result, but what I’ve learned, I don’t think you can put a price on it. I learned so much today. I’m looking at the long game. I’m looking at next year. From that point of view, I’m very happy. I’m a little disappointed because I think the Target guys deserved a better result than that."

Both Franchitti (qualified sixth) and his teammate Bryan Clauson (qualified on the pole) were forced to relinquish their starting positions prior to the race after both teams changed engines.

“I definitely learned more from coming from the back, but as the race went on I could have learned just as much up front,” Franchitti said.

Clauson ended up finishing 11th.

Erin Crocker, who finished 18th, also made history of her own by becoming the first female driver to win the Superspeedway Challenge Championship.

"It's a really big deal for me," Crocker said. "It's a really prestigious award and it's a huge honor to win it. When you look back at some of the drivers who have won ARCA's superspeedway title, from Davey Allison to Frank Kimmel, it makes it even more special."

Speed helped bring out the fifth and final caution of the 94-lap race after his Toyota got into the back of the No. 47 Ford of Phillip McGilton on lap 89.

The ARCA RE/MAX Series wraps up the 2007 season next Sunday at the half-mile Toledo Speedway.

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