Dale Earnhardt Jr. Plane Crash Caused by Landing Gear Collapse, NTSB Says

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 23, 2019

The burned remains of a plane that was carrying NASCAR television analyst and former driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. lies near a runway Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Elizabethton, Tenn. Officials said the Cessna Citation rolled off the end of a runway and caught fire after landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport. Earnhardt's sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, tweeted that
Uncredited/Associated Press

The Aug. 15 plane crash involving Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family was caused by a mechanical malfunction. 

Per Natalie Neysa Alund of the Tennessean, the National Transportation Safety Board report announced a landing gear collapse was the source of the crash:

"The airplane bounced twice, then continued airborne down runway 24 until it touched down a third time with about 1,000 ft of paved surface remaining. The video revealed that the right main landing gear collapsed and the outboard section of the right wing contacted the runway shortly after the third touchdown. The airplane departed the paved surface beyond the runway 24 departure end threshold, through an open area of grass, down an embankment, through a chain-link fence, and up an embankment, coming to rest on the edge of Tennessee Highway 91."

The report also noted a fire was in progress following the accident as members of the flight crew were evacuating passengers through the main entry door. 

Earnhardt, his wife Amy and their daughter Isla were taken to Johnson City Medical Center in Tennessee where they were treated for minor injuries. 

Responding to a fan question on Twitter this week, Earnhardt said his back is sore but he still intends to compete in the Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200:

The Aug. 31 race at Darlington will be Earnhardt's first NASCAR event since an Xfinity Series race at Richmond last September. He retired from full-time competition following the 2017 season.