Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife Amy escaped serious injury after a private plane they were riding in ran off the runway at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Tennessee Thursday.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed a Cessna Citation with the tail number N8JR crashed at the small airport, which is located about three hours northwest of Charlotte. It also said there were a total of five passengers onboard at the time, including two pilots and three passengers. Dale’s dog was also on board, allegedly.
Kelly Earnhardt, sister of the famous former NASCAR driver and current team owner, sent out a tweet to notify fans that he and his wife were unhurt in the accident.
NEW: Video shows thick, black smoke rising from the site of a small plane crash that was carrying Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his family. Everyone on board, including Earnhardt, escaped the wreck, said the local sheriff. https://t.co/2nqljR6C5C pic.twitter.com/noizctpZVk
— ABC News (@ABC) August 15, 2019
Earnhardt was likely flying into the region for this weekend’s various NASCAR festivities at Bristol Motor Speedway in nearby Bristol, Tennessee. Earnhardt serves as a NASCAR Cup Series analyst and his JR Motorsports team also runs cars in the second-tier NASCAR Xfinity Series.
A representative for the local fire department said Earnhardt “was having a little trouble,” after the crash and said he was transported non-emergency to a nearby medical center. He was allegedly released few hours later.
Steve Letarte, who commentates on NASCAR races alongside Earnhardt on MSNBC, also spoke on the situation today, confirming that he would not appear in the booth this weekend at Bristol.
“Up in the booth, I miss him already, but I’m excited for whenever he chooses to come back up here and call some races with us,” Letarte said. “But, more than anything, I was very thankful for the opportunity, after such a scary situation, to just see them and know they really were OK.”
“Now they’re together, resting, recovering and processing the situation,” he added.