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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Bruised but Safe After Fiery Plane Crash

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., his wife and daughter recently survived a plane crash
Photo: © General Motors

Despite getting banged up in a frightening plane crash last week, retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. still plans to get behind the wheel next week for a special race appearance at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway.

Earnhardt, his wife, Amy, and daughter, Isla, were aboard a Cessna jet last week when its landing gear apparently failed on a runway in Elizabethton, Tennessee. The plane hit the pavement, went through a fence and caught on fire. All five people aboard were able to jump out safely before the plane was consumed by the flames.

Earnhardt initially tweeted that “all on board escaped with no serious injuries.” He followed that up with more details Wednesday, noting, “My lower back is bruised up real bad. Lots of swelling and I just need that to go down and the pain to chill out.”

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Earnhardt wrote that he’s working daily to heal from his injuries. However, he won’t be backing out of Aug. 31’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race — not yet, anyway. His current plan is to race in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet, which will be painted to commemorate his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr.

After a long and illustrious career, the 44-year-old Earnhardt stepped down from full-time racing in 2017. He now works as a racing analyst for NBC Sports and was on his way to call a race in Bristol when last week’s crash occurred.

Earnhardt tweeted last week that he wouldn’t be “speculating or discussing the cause of the accident.” Investigators are still working to figure out what happened, but it appears the crash may have stemmed from a hard landing and collapsed landing gear.

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News Sources: The Charlotte Observer, USA Today