Winston-Salem, North Carolina (February 15, 1999) - Andy Santerre, driver of the ...
Winston-Salem, North Carolina (February 15, 1999) - Andy Santerre, driver of the #47 MONRO Muffler Brake & Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo on the NASCAR Busch Series, finished 42nd after being involved in a lap-24 accident that injured his right leg in the season opening NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 13, 1999
The 1998 Raybestos "Rookie of the Year" broke his right patella (kneecap) in three locations when his car spun into another crashed car on the backstretch of the famed Daytona highbanks.
"I'm still trying to piece together the accident," Santerre explains. "I remember seeing the #4 car spin and hit the wall, I tried to miss him but couldn't. I remember spinning and hitting the wall and then it gets fuzzy. I think another car hit me and I slammed into Michael Waltrip who was up against the wall. I do know it was a real hard hit and it knocked the wind out of me. I also knew my right leg was hurting pretty bad." Santerre continues, "I still haven't seen the accident, I only know what friends have told me."
The 30-year old Santerre was immediately placed on a stretcher and taken to the infield care center. X-rays there showed multiple closed fractures in the patella and possibly in the femur. Santerre was flown to Winston-Salem via a private plane to the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center for evaluation and surgery.
Sue Santerre, Andy's wife relays the doctor's diagnosis, "Thankfully, the injury isn't as bad as originally thought. The original diagnosis is that the femur was broken, but it is only the patella, which is a much "better" break. They are going to operate on his knee today (Monday) and after the surgery they will have a better idea of his recovery period. From discussions with Dr. David Martin, (Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine Unit) Andy will be off his feet for six to eight weeks. Rehabilitation will start immediately and Andy is hoping to be back in the race car in June, maybe May if all goes well." Sue Santerre adds, "The rehabilitation is the most important part and it is why we chose Wake Forest University Baptist because of the rehabilitation program and the continuity of treatment they offer at the race track."
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, in conjunction with Wake Forest University, NASCAR, and MRO, sends a trailer with rehabilitation equipment and a physical therapist to each race. With continual care from the same therapist and the same facility, Santerre will be back in the racecar much sooner. Motor Racing Outreach and Ann Schrader suggested the program to the Santerre's.
Innovative Motorsports has announced that Ward Burton will be in the car for the next three Busch Series races - Rockingham, Las Vegas, and Atlanta. Ward is scheduled to participate in 10 Busch Series races with his own sponsor, Siemens later in the season.
"I hate that I will be out of the car for a few months, but I know Ward will represent MONRO well and do a great job in the race car. The team and I were looking forward to Rockingham and Vegas because we felt we would have a great car at both places. Right now I have to concentrate on getting back 100% and leave the driving up to Ward."
"We hate that this happened to Andy," expressed George deBidart, owner of the #47 Monte Carlo. "But we are behind him 100% and when he feels he is ready to get back in the car, the seat is his. He is a young and talented driver and has a bright future ahead of him, I plan to be a part of it." deBidart continues, "We really appreciate Ward helping us out."
Santerre and his family wish to express they're thanks to all those who have called, sent cards, and are keeping him in their thoughts and prayers.
"I am amazed at all the people who have called already," Santerre said. "It boosts my spirits and I am touched how many people genuinely care how I am doing."
All well wishes and cards can be sent to Andy in care of his Fan Club at P.O. Box 994 Harrisburg, NC 28075