ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. — Dale Earnhardt Jr., his wife Amy and their child were on a plane that crashed in Tennessee on Thursday afternoon, according to Mike Davis, with JR Motorsports.
Earnhardt Jr.’s sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, said Dale and his family are all safe but were taken to the hospital for an 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.”
Airport Manager Dan Cogan told WJHL the private plane ran off the end of the runway at Elizabethton Airport and caught fire.
Davis said everyone on the plane, including two pilots, are expected to be OK.
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
JUST IN: Video footage from the scene of a plane crash in Tennessee. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife Amy were on board, according to ABC affiliate WJHL https://t.co/dJy7nGqLUf pic.twitter.com/CUjZpykxrh
— WLOS (@WLOS_13) August 15, 2019
Everyone (including two pilots) expected to be OK. https://t.co/0Q3rThKRzf
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) August 15, 2019
Federal Aviation Administration officials said a Cessna Citation rolled off the end of a runway and caught fire after landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport at 3:40 p.m. Thursday. FAA officials said the preliminary indication is that two pilots and three passengers were aboard.
The National Transportation Safety Board tweeted that it’s sending two representatives to Elizabethton to begin investigating the crash.
Carter County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Thomas Gray confirmed Earnhardt was aboard but said he wasn’t one of the pilots.
Earnhardt retired as a full-time driver in 2017 and has been working as an analyst for NBC. He is part of the scheduled broadcast team for Saturday night’s Cup Series event in Bristol, Tennessee.
This incident comes 26 years after former driver and 1992 Cup champion Alan Kulwicki died in a plane crash while on his way to the spring race at Bristol from a promotional appearance in Knoxville, Tennessee. That crash at Tri-City Regional Airport in Blountville, Tennessee, killed a total of four people.
Earnhardt was part of Rick Hendrick’s racing team in 2011 when Hendrick broke a rib and a collarbone while on a small jet that lost its brakes and crash landed in an airport at Key West, Florida. Hendrick’s son, brother and twin nieces were among 10 people killed in a 2004 crash of a plane traveling to a race in Virginia.
This isn’t the first fiery crash for Earnhardt. He still has a burn scar on his neck from a crash at Sonoma in 2004 during warmups for an American Le Mans Series race that left him with second-degree burns.
Earnhardt has a history of concussions that plagued him over his final years as a driver.
He won NASCAR’s most popular driver award a record 15 times with 26 career Cup victories.