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, successfully underwent surgery on Monday, February 15, 1999 for his broken right leg at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The 1998 Raybestos "Rookie of the Year" fractured his tibial plateau (large bone in the lower leg) and his fibula (small bone in the lower leg), when his car spun into another crashed car on the backstretch of the famed Daytona highbanks. He also suffered cartilage damage to his knee.
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 owned by Mike Swaim Sr. 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 (thigh bone) was broken and then that the patella (knee cap) was broken, but it ended up being the tibial plateau which will heal quicker and easier."
During surgery, Dr. David F. Martin, Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine Unit, found another fracture in the fibula in the lower leg and with permission from Santerre's wife, opted to fix it while in surgery. The additional fracture should not prolong the recovery period.
"Andy will be off his feet for six to eight weeks," confirmed Dr. Martin on Monday. "Rehabilitation will start immediately and Andy is hoping to be back in the race car in June, possibly May if all goes well." Dr. Martin adds, "Andy is young, in good health and is active, so there is no reason to think he won't heal quickly. However, the rehabilitation is the most important part and Andy is the one who will have to do the work to get himself healthy and back in the racecar."
Innovative Motorsports originally announced that Ward Burton would be in the racecar for the next three Busch Series races - Rockingham, Las Vegas, and Atlanta, but contractual obligations with Ward's Winston Cup Sponsor halted the connection.
George deBidart, owner of Innovative Motorsports announced Mike Swaim Jr., a current ARCA driver and former NASCAR Goody's Dash Champion, will wheel the MONRO Muffler Brake & Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo until Andy Santerre is 100% and ready to get in the racecar again. "I hate that I can't help Andy and the team," Ward Burton admitted. "I would be in the car if there wasn't a contractual dispute. I will still be playing a role in the background supporting Mike during practice and field testing." Burton continues, "This is a great opportunity for Mike, his Dad gave me my first break coming into this sport and helping Mike is a way to repay him."
Mike Swaim Sr. offered his private plane to fly Santerre to the hospital from Daytona and is Ward Burton's Winston Cup spotter on the #22 car.
"Mike is a talented driver who has had a lot of success in other NASCAR divisions," said deBidart. "We have a lot of confidence in him and he will be a good interim driver. But ultimately, the second Andy is ready to get in the racecar, he is back in." deBidart injects, "Ward is sick about not being able to help Andy out. He wants to and will do everything in his power to help us without breaking any aspect of his Winston Cup contract." Andy and Sue Santerre want to thank everyone who has called, sent their well wishes, 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