Dale Earnhardt Jr., his wife Amy and their daughter Isla were aboard a plane that ran off the end of the runway and caught fire at the Elizabethton (Tenn.) Municipal Airport on Thursday.
Barry Carrier, the Elizabethton fire chief, told WJHL that neither Earnhardt Jr. nor Amy were seriously injured in the crash. The Carter County Sheriff’s office told WCYB that there were no fatalities in the crash but that Earnhardt Jr. had been taken to the Johnson City Medical Center for minor injuries like cuts and abrasions.
Earnhardt’s sister Kelley confirmed on Twitter that her brother and sister-in-law and niece were “safe” after the crash and that they had been taken to the hospital for further evaluation.
I can confirm Dale, Amy & Isla along with his two pilots were involved in a crash in Bristol TN this afternoon. Everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation. We have no further information at this time. Thank you for your understanding.— Kelley Earnhardt (@EarnhardtKelley) August 15, 2019
The FAA told CNN that Junior’s Cessna Citation “rolled off the end of Runway 24 and caught fire after landing” at approximately 3:40 p.m. ET.
“Preliminary indication is that three people were aboard, they evacuated and no injuries were reported to the FAA,” the statement said.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report on the crash Friday, which revealed landing gear collapsed, and that the pilots attempted a go-around after the plane bounced a second time, but the plane did not respond as expected.
According to the NTSB: The pilots also reported that, following the second bounce, a go-around was attempted; however, the airplane did not respond as expected, so they landed straight-ahead on the runway and could not stop the airplane prior to the excursion. #Nascar pic.twitter.com/qIiWXXA5nF— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) August 23, 2019
The Elizabethton airport is located south of Bristol Motor Speedway, the site of Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race. Earnhardt Jr. was set to be an analyst for that race for NBC Sports. He’s worked for the network since he retired from driving at the end of the 2017 season and NBC said that he’d be taking the weekend off following the crash.
“We’re incredibly grateful that Dale, his wife Amy, daughter Isla, and the two pilots are safe following today’s accident,” an NBC statement said. “After being discharged from the hospital, we communicated with Dale and his team, and we’re all in agreement that he should take this weekend off to be with his family. We look forward to having him back in the booth next month at Darlington.”
He also co-owns JR Motorsports, a four-car team that competes in NASCAR’s No. 2 Xfinity Series, with Kelley.
Earnhardt Jr., a two-time Xfinity Series champion himself, won 26 races over 631 starts at NASCAR’s top level from 1999-2017 and became NASCAR’s most popular driver after his father’s death on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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