NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Michael Annett was happy to be back at the track for the first time since suffering a fractured sternum in his nasty crash in the season-opening race at Daytona.
"Honestly, I feel like I could be putting my suit on right now and going over to the car (to) get ready for practice," said Annett, whose projected eight-week recovery puts him on target to return for the next superspeedway event at Talladega on May 4. Annett, who has a checkup scheduled for Monday at Carolina Medical Center, had two plates inserted to help facilitate healing.
The Richard Petty Motorsports driver says it remains a mystery what caused the injury but is thankful for the safety advances that have been made in the cockpit.
"Twelve years ago I wouldn't be able to be standing here," he said. "I was in a carbon fiber seat, six-point harness. Everything did what was supposed to do. My injury is something we haven't seen in the past 12 years, at least.... They (RPM, seatbelt manufacturer Schroth, NASCAR) don't know what happened. The steering wheel hadn't moved. It wasn't bent. There wasn't a mark on the helmet, a mark on the suit. Pretty much, my body stayed where it was supposed to. All the safety equipment that we wear did its job."
Annett said he planned to be atop the spotter's stand, providing input for Reed Sorenson, who taking his spot in the No. 43, and Ford teammate Travis Pastrana, who is running his first Nationwide race at Bristol.