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Going, going, Gaughan: Michael Annett to drive Rusty Wallace Racing's No. 62 in 2011

Michael Annett will move to Rusty Wallace Racing for the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series season.
Michael Annett will move to Rusty Wallace Racing for the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series season.

Rusty Wallace Racing announced Friday the hiring of Michael Annett to drive RWR's No. 62 Toyota in the Nationwide Series next year. 

Annett, 24, will replace Brendan Gaughan, who will return to NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series full time in a Toyota fielded by Germain Racing, the organization that fields the No. 30 Toyota for truck series champion Todd Bodine.

Gaughan, 35, last raced full time in the truck series in 2008 and has eight wins in 162 starts. His best season was 2003, when he won six races and finished fourth in the standings.

Annett is completing his second full Nationwide season in Germain's No. 15 Toyota. He finished 10th in the series last year and is 13th going into Saturday's season finale at Homestead.

Pilot Travel Centers, a long-time Annett backer, will serve as primary sponsor of Annett's No. 62 Toyota for his 2011 campaign.

"I'm really looking forward to joining Rusty Wallace Racing in 2011," Annett said in a press release. "This is going to be a great next step in my career and I'm very grateful to Pilot Travel Centers for helping to make this possible. 

"Rusty Wallace Racing has fielded top-10 cars consistently over the past few years; I feel we'll be very competitive right out of the box. I'm looking forward to having one of my good friends, Steve Wallace, as my teammate as well. Coming from a single car team, I'm excited about the resources that having a teammate can provide.

"While I'm focused 100 percent on finishing out 2010 as strongly as possible, I can't wait for Daytona. I'm ready to put the Pilot Travel Centers Toyota up front next season."

Annett, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, will be embarking upon his third full Nationwide Series season in 2011. Annett finished among the top 10 in the Nationwide Series drivers standings during his 2009 rookie season and also has two ARCA Racing Series wins to his credit, including a victory in the series' most prestigious event at Daytona in 2008.

"We're extremely excited to welcome Michael Annett and Pilot Travel Centers to our team," team owner Rusty Wallace said. "Michael has shown a lot of promise over his first two seasons and we're looking forward to helping him continue to develop his career. We fully expect Michael and the No. 62 team to be among the contenders in 2011.

"I'd also like to wish Brendan Gaughan all the best as he transitions back to the truck series for next year. With his new child, the reduced schedule should allow him to spend more time with his family and we wish them all well in the future."

The Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service contributed to this story