Nationwide Series driver Michael Annett is very much looking forward to Saturday's race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Annett, who drives the No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, is scheduled to compete in his first race since suffering a broken and dislocated sternum during an accident in the closing laps of the Feb. 23 Nationwide season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.
He was medically cleared for the 300-mile race at Charlotte following his MRI on Monday.
"Obviously, I can't wait to get back into the No. 43," Annett said. "It has been a long three months, and I am more than ready to jump back in the car. The accident at Daytona was disappointing for our team, but I'm very grateful for the amount of support I had from the team, NASCAR, family, friends and fans, and not to mention the outstanding medical team that helped me through all of this. While it was really hard to be on the sidelines, I realize that it was even more important to heal properly."
Aric Almirola, who drives for Petty in the Sprint Cup Series, substituted for Annett in the No. 43 car in March at Phoenix (the second race of the season). Reed Sorenson had been behind the wheel of that car since then.
Annett is expected to make his 140th career Nationwide start, including his ninth at Charlotte. His best finish here is 10th, which came one year ago. Annett finished a career-best fifth in the 2012 series point standings.
"It's always fun to race at Charlotte," he said. "Since it's a 'home' race for most of the teams, it's cool to see so many family and friends get to experience what we do every weekend. It's a fast mile-and-a-half track, and we typically run well at the bigger tracks, so hopefully we can get a decent run my first time back in the car."
Regan Smith enters this race with a 28-point lead over Sam Hornish Jr., while Elliott Sadler is presently 42 points behind Smith.
"It's been a good start to the season for us," Smith said. "We certainly want to keep that rolling this weekend. We want to keep the good forward momentum going. We had an opportunity to test (Wednesday at Charlotte) and worked through a lot of different things that we've been wanting to try with data on the race cars and things like that. So hopefully we can use that to continue to build on the points lead and have a good weekend this weekend."
Smith won at Talladega and finished seventh at Darlington earlier this month.
Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano are those Sprint Cup regulars scheduled for this race. Busch and Mark Martin share the record for most Nationwide victories at Charlotte with six each. Busch has not won here since May 2010.
Forty-five teams are entered in the History 300.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, May 25. Race: History 300. Site: Charlotte Motor Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 2:45 p.m. ET. Laps: 200. Miles: 300. 2012 Winner: Brad Keselowski. Television: ABC. Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.