JOHN ANDRETTI, NO. 43 STP/CHEERIOS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (ON HIS INJURY) "Since last Saturday night when I got in the wall in The Winston my (right side) ribs have been real tender. We've been keeping a close eye on them, but I guess the ...
JOHN ANDRETTI, NO. 43 STP/CHEERIOS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON HIS INJURY) "Since last Saturday night when I got in the wall in The Winston my (right side) ribs have been real tender. We've been keeping a close eye on them, but I guess the tenderness was the fact that they were cracked. It was only my first lap out (in this morning's practice). I went down into turn three and went to pick up the throttle. When I cut the wheel real hard it popped. I'm just glad nobody got too hard in the back of me. I was trying to get out of the way, but I thought breathing might be more important at that minute. It's unfortunate.
"Cracked ribs? They're nothing. Guys walk around saying, 'I've got cracked ribs.' That's nothing. You've got to break one to really know what it's all about. Pain doesn't bother me. It's sharp, intermittent pain that bothers me. That's what this is."
(DID HE KNOW WHAT HAD HAPPENED?) "Oh I called it. I didn't get off turn four and I called them (the crew) and said, 'I broke my ribs.' I figured it wasn't anything else because that's what had been hurting me. I made it through practice and qualifying all day Wednesday and practice all the next day. I figured as long as I made it through the '600' without hitting anything, I'd probably not have any pain next week. But this probably eliminates any chances of that.
"I hadn't felt any pain in the car (prior to this morning). It was just when I got out. It was real tender. But I could still train and could still do all the things I was doing, but it was just real tender. I couldn't really locate the pain. But now that is broken, I can locate it real well."
(HOW LONG WILL THIS AFFECT HIM?) "I don't know. I think it depends on me, how much I can endure and how bad it is, whether I re-injure it or don't let it heal. It's a four to six week deal, so it's going to be a little bit of time. But we can do some things to work on the car. It's just unfortunate. I told my crew chief (Greg Steadman) that it's unfortunate this didn't happen right before Bristol. I would have loved to have missed Bristol. I'd much rather watch that race than be in it."
(WILL HE START TOMORROW NIGHT'S COCA-COLA 600?) "That's the plan as of right now. We need to find somebody that's my size, so we're going to the eighth grade classes around the Charlotte area."
GREG STEADMAN, CREW CHIEF, NO. 43 STP/CHEERIOS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON THE TEAM'S PLAN FOR TOMORROW NIGHT'S RACE) "We're going to let Tim Fedewa come drive it during 'Happy Hour,' and then use him tomorrow night. John (Andretti) will start it, and then we'll probably just try to get to the first caution. Keeping John in the best health is what we're concerned with right now. We don't want something to happen to him that would put him out for any longer. Whatever he needs to stay in the best shape, that's what we're going to work with."