BUSCH: Mike Swaim, Jr. to Sub for Andy Santerre

Swaim Jr. temporary replacement for Santerre By Shawn A. Akers HARRISBURG, N.C. (Feb. 17, 1999) Mike Swaim Jr., a former champion of the Goody's Dash Series, a part of the NASCAR Touring Division, has been named as a temporary replacement for ...

Swaim Jr. temporary replacement for Santerre By Shawn A. Akers

HARRISBURG, N.C. (Feb. 17, 1999) Mike Swaim Jr., a former champion of the Goody's Dash Series, a part of the NASCAR Touring Division, has been named as a temporary replacement for driver Andy Santerre in the No. 47 Monro Muffler Brake & Service Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division, the team announced Wednesday morning.

Swaim will begin his tenure in the Innovative Motorsports car this weekend in the ALLTEL 200 at the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham.

Santerre fractured three bones around his right knee, including the tibia, as well as cartilage damage in an accident during last Saturday's season-opening NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway. He underwent surgery Monday and is expected to be out until at least May, team spokesman Joe Carver said.

Carver said that Swaim would drive the No. 47 Chevrolet until Santerre returns.

The 22-year-old Swaim Jr. won the 1997 Goody's Dash Series championship, and spent the better part of 1998 driving in both that series and the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series. He earned his first career ARCA victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway last November, and finished fourth in the recent FirstPlus Financial 200 ARCA race at Daytona.

Carver said Swaim Jr. caught the eye of the Innovative Motorsports team after his win at Atlanta last season.

"To win a race in any championship series is very difficult to do, and he did a great job in that race," Carver said. "We got there in the middle of that race, and he showed a lot of patience and intelligence in winning that race. This is a kid with a lot of enthusiasm and talent, and we're very impressed with him.

"You look around these days and youth is where it's at in this series. He's young, he's talented, he's smart and he doesn't have a lot of bad traits. We think he'll fit in well with this team because all of our guys are young, too. We're fortunate to get him."

Swaim Jr.'s father, Mike Swaim, is also a former Goody's Dash Series champion. Santerre himself, Carver said, was involved in the decision to hire Swaim Jr.

Carver said the heads at Innovative Motorsports "have been thinking about starting a second team" in the near future, and that this has given the team an opportunity to explore the possibilities and evaluate some possible talent.

"We really hate that this has happened to Andy because we were looking forward to a great year," Carver said. "And when he returns, we're still going to have a great year. But this kinda brings Mike into the fold a bit and gets him involved and gets him some attention. When we decide to get a second team going, he'll absolutely be a candidate to fill the seat."

Carver said Santerre, the 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year, is expected to return home to the Charlotte area from Wake Forest University Hospital on either Thursday or Friday. The surgery he had on his right knee Monday involved the placement of a plate and some screws to help the area mend.

Source: NASCAR Online

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