Dale Earnhardt Jr. says his family is “truly blessed” that nobody was seriously injured when his plane crash-landed last week in Tennessee. The retired NASCAR driver, now a television analyst, posted a statement Monday on Twitter praising the “quick response of my pilots, local law enforcement, emergency personnel and hospital staff.” He thanked people for their phone calls, messages of support and prayers.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) August 19, 2019
Investigators say the plane carrying Earnhardt and his family bounced multiple times during a crash-landing Thursday in Elizabethton and veered off the runway before ending up on a highway. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause.
Earnhardt was with wife Amy, 15-month-old daughter Isla, two pilots and the family dog. He was to have been part of NBC’s broadcast team for Saturday night’s Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS). Earnhardt Jr. retired from NASCAR in 2017 and has since been working as an analyst.
Earnhardt said he and his wife appreciate the privacy extended to them as they process what happened.
Over the weekend, NASCAR thanked first responders who were dispatched to the scene of the accident by giving them free tickets to the races at BMS.
“We had a great time with our first responder family at the BMS night race!” wrote the Carter County Tennessee Sheriff’s Office on its Facebook page Saturday. “A big thank you to NASCAR for giving us and all the agencies that responded to Dale Jr.’s plane crash free tickets!”
The sheriff’s office posted four photos of the event, two of which appear to be first responders and their families watching the race from the stands. The other images show a massive American flag being held next to the race track and the track itself.
We had a great time with our first responder family at the BMS night race! A big thank you to NASCAR for giving us and all the agencies that responded to Dale Jr.’s plane crash free tickets!
Danielle Garrand contributed to this report.
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