Annett, who’s reported to be out for an indefinite period of time, gave an update on how healing has progressed, when he expects to be back in a race car and what it feels like to watch replacement driver Reed Sorenson pilot his No. 43 entry.
Co-Host Danielle Trotta sat down with Annett at the FOX Sports’ SPEED studio in Charlotte, N.C. Here is what Annett had to say;
Danielle Trotta: How are you feeling?
Michael Annett: I’m actually feeling really good. I was at Bristol this past weekend and I told everybody that I felt like I could be putting my suit and helmet on – and going out there. Right now, the best way to put it – I feel fine if everything went right. I’m pretty sure I would have been able to lift that trophy at Bristol above my head, but if something (does) go wrong, that’s kind of what we’re waiting for, everything to heal. Health-wise, physically, things are going great and (I’m) disappointed in not being in the car every weekend.
Trotta: I know that’s really tough for a driver, but it was quite a serious injury you took. You broke your sternum or breast bone – which protects some vital organs the heart and lungs – and we were saying that we had never heard of a dislocated sternum before.
Annett: That was the biggest thing. It was really a new injury and obviously, like you just said, I wouldn’t be sitting with you here talking about what did happen, is just a testament to the safety devices that NASCAR amplifies; with the Hans (Device), the seats and everything, with the Safer Barriers. I think this wreck, 10 or 15 years ago – I probably wouldn’t be sitting here right now.
Trotta: Are there any lingering effects, still things you can and can’t do?
Annett: People have asked me, ‘What are you going to do to be able to get back quicker?’ What can you do? The problem is that there’s really nothing; there’s pretty much a bunch of things you can’t do, lifting heavy objects. I got a cold this past week, and I realized how bad sneezing and coughing hurts; and that’s kind of the only lingering effect I have right now.
Trotta: …and laughing.
Annett: …exactly. Like I said, the pain really isn’t bad at all. That’s one thing that’s gone on since it happened; I got off the medicine quicker that they thought. I got out of the ICU quicker than they thought, and got out of the hospital three days early. So hopefully, it’s just a sign of things to come.
Trotta: You were telling me off camera that you’re still not exactly sure what caused that crash, caused your injuries in the crash.
Annett: Right. That’s the biggest thing and why I really appreciate how NASCAR handled things, when something bad happens, they don’t stop until they figure out what happened and try to make sure it never does again. We’ve talked with the belt manufacturer. We’ve watched the video. There are a lot of things going on right now to try to figure out what actually did happen that day. The best answer is right now, we still don’t know.
Trotta: I know it’s tough for drivers to see someone else in their car – no disrespect to Reed (Sorenson)… How tough has it been sitting out?
Annett: You can disrespect Reed if you want.
Trotta: …no laughing.
Annett: No, it isn’t fun to watch. I’m definitely getting to see a lot, and a different side of the sport. I was up on the pit box this past week with ‘The King’ (Richard Petty). Well, The King sat while I stood up the whole time and realized why crew chiefs and drivers have the relationship they do because I got mad at Reed quite a few times…
Trotta: …you would have done it differently.
Annett: Next time, make sure you don’t give me a radio where I can talk. All I can do is listen… No, Reed’s doing a great job, and he was, by far, a top-five car this weekend and unfortunately, got caught up in something that wasn’t his doing. I don’t look forward to it, but if I have to watch somebody drive the car for the next few weeks, I’m glad it’s him.
Trotta: You say a few weeks, any specific timetable, or is there a day that you’ll know that you’re ready to get back in the car?
Annett: I have a doctor’s appointment in a month, and they are going to do a pretty in-depth scan and just make sure that everything has grown back together the way is supposed to. The said eight weeks in the beginning, everything else is going faster than they thought, so hopefully, if we can knock that down we can. When we get that scan back… if its eight weeks, we’ll be back there in Talladega (Ala.), and hopefully have a little bit better finish from the last time that we were at a Superspeedway.