Tennessee — Dale Earnhardt Jr, famed NASCAR driver and auto racing analyst, and his wife were involved in a private jet crash in east Tennessee and escaped serious injury, officials said Thursday.
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.
(UPDATE: Around 7 p.m. ET, Earnhardt reportedly left the hospital via a police escort)
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.
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 Elizabethton airport is located south of Bristol Motor Speedway, the site of Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race. Earnhardt Jr. is 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.
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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