Harrisburg, North Carolina - Andy Santerre, driver of the ...
Harrisburg, North Carolina - Andy Santerre, driver of the #47 MONRO Muffler Brake & Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo on the NASCAR Busch Series, has done a lot of soul searching these past months after his spectacular crash at the season-opening Napa Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 1999. After contemplating various scenarios and discussing options with close confidants, the 30-year old Santerre made a decision regarding his career that would affect his crew and the Innovative Motorsports team in 2000.
Last Wednesday, Santerre called a meeting to explain to his team his intentions for the 2000 NASCAR Busch Series season. The 1998 Raybestos "Rookie of the Year" decided to explore options to run a limited schedule in 2000. Knowing this would affect numerous people and current sponsorship negotiations, Santerre felt obligated to make his crew and team owner aware of his decision prior to the end of the season to give them time to explore options.
"I am thankful for the opportunity George gave me, Santerre explained. "We built a strong team with MONRO and won the "Rookie of the Year" title together. We had high expectations for the 1999 season, but my broken leg interfered with those hopes. We overcame the injury and a couple missed races, stuck together, and won a couple races." Santerre continues, "But, there is a time for everything and for me, now is the time to explore other options. I wish IMI the best of luck."
Team owner, George deBidart, after hearing Santerre's announcement, held several meetings of his own with employees regarding the future of the team. A decision was made, since Santerre would not be the full-time driver next season, it would be in the team's best interest to put another driver in the car for the remaining seven NASCAR Busch Series races and focus all attention on the 2000 season.
"We wish Andy all the best," George deBidart commented. "We had a good couple of years together and we built a competitive race team. Andy wanted to concentrate on a limited schedule and that just didn't fit into our plans here at IMI."
Santerre, a first-time winner this season, will remain employed by Innovative Motorsports until he signs with another team.
No replacement driver has been named as yet.