What was mostly overlooked at the end of the season opening NASCAR Nationwide Series race was the severity of Michael Annett’s hard hit during the final crash. While Kyle Larson’s car was flying into the air and catch fence, Annett slammed into the outside wall nearly head on. He fractured his sternum in the accident.
There are unknowns on what caused the injury.
“Is we don’t know because my injury is something we haven’t seen in the past 12 years at least. They don’t know, but they’re gonna do everything it takes to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Annett, meeting with reporters for the first time since the accident Friday at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
Everything in the car did exactly what it was supposed to do.
“There are things they’re working on right now to improve on what we already have and that’s obviously something we’re gonna look into, but, at the time of the accident, everything was installed properly. Nobody did anything wrong. It was just that everything came together the worst way possible – the speed, the impact, the angle of the impact. Twelve years ago I wouldn’t be able to be standing here talking to you guys if we didn’t have the safety devices we have now,” said Annett.
Somehow Annett’s body was able to come forward when impact was made, with everything holding him in place something had to give, and that something was his sternum.
“The steering wheel hadn’t moved, it wasn’t bent. There wasn’t a mark on the helmet, a mark on the suit. It was pretty much my body stayed where it was supposed to and my sternum tried to come out of my chest. That’s all we do know,” continued Annett.
The other unknown is when he will return to the track.
“Initially, they said eight weeks right away. I have a doctor’s appointment Monday morning down at CMC (Carolina Medical Center) Main and meet with the surgeon. They’re gonna do another scan and we all heal differently. They said eight weeks, but they also said I would be in the ICU all night and I was in there for 30 minutes. They said I’d be in the hospital until Sunday and I was released two days early, so, hopefully, we can turn that eight weeks into six or seven, but I think Monday is gonna be a telltale sign of how quick everything is healing,” said Annett.
Until then Reed Sorenson will drive the #43 Ford in his place until Annett is cleared for action. Hopefully a lot can be learned and applied to safety improvements after a full evaluation of Annett’s car is done.