BRISTOL, Tenn. — The races came to Avoca Elementary School on Thursday when NASCAR Xfinity series driver Michael Annett’s driving skills were put to the test.
Annett and others from Bristol Motor Speedway made a pit stop at the school on Volunteer Parkway near BMS, where he raced Avoca program assistant Jeff Mustard, met with students and gave away free tickets to Saturday’s Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300.
“Visits like this really bring you back to your childhood,” Annett said after the assembly. “These kids are the future of our sport, and I wish I had gone to a school like this growing up.”
Annett told the crowd of about 200 students and faculty members about growing up in rural Des Moines, Iowa, before joining the NASCAR circuit and relocating to neighboring North Carolina.
“We don’t get too many opportunities to visit schools during race week, so it was nice to come to a school and see kids having fun at school,” Arnett said. “You never really know how students are going to react going into an assembly, and these kids really had a lot of energy.”
Some of the more lighthearted moments came when Chris Lawyer, communications director at BMS, turned the microphone over to students who asked Annett questions.
He was asked what it’s like to drive a race car and whether he has won any first places, among other questions.
“It’s really hot driving a race car,” Annett said. “You wear a lot of gear, but the No. 1 question we always get asked is what we do if we have to go to the bathroom.”
Annett, 30, drives the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro for JR Motorsports and said after the assembly that he’s excited about returning to the race Saturday night at the speedway.
“I loved Bristol Motor Speedway as a race fan growing up, and it’s unlike anywhere else we go,” Annett said. “When the schedule comes out at the beginning of the year, you mark Bristol because you want to win and be able to hold up that trophy.”
The assembly concluded with Annett randomly selecting an entire classroom to receive three tickets each to Saturday night’s Xfinity race and taking a group selfie with the students.