‘Thank you to God’: Dale Earnhardt Jr., family escape fiery plane crash

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ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family were not seriously hurt when the plane they were on crashed and caught fire Thursday afternoon at an airport in Tennessee, officials said.

Authorities said the private plane registered under JR Motorsports in Mooresville rolled off the end of the runway around 3:40 p.m. after landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport.

The Carter County Sheriff’s Office said Earnhardt, his wife Amy and their 15-month-old daughter Isla were on board, along with two pilots and the family dog.

(Dale Jr., Isla and Amy)

The 44-year-old television analyst and retired driver was taken to a hospital for evaluation and later released.

NBC Sports said Earnhardt was scheduled to work as an analyst for the race but will take the weekend off from broadcasting to be with his wife and daughter.

"We're incredibly grateful that Dale, his wife Amy, daughter Isla, and the two pilots are safe following today's accident," NBC Sports said in a statement. "After being discharged from the hospital, we communicated with Dale and his team, and we're all in agreement that he should take this weekend off to be with his family. We look forward to having him back in the booth next month at Darlington."

Earnhardt's sister Kelley Earnhardt tweeted after the crash that everyone was safe.

Hours later, Kelley Earnhardt tweeted again, saying, "Finally laying down for the night and want to say thank you to God, the angels among us, our pilots, first responders, medical staff, our NASCAR family and everyone that has reached out in whatever way to support us all."

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