Dale Earnhardt Jr's one-off NASCAR race still on after plane crash

Jim Utter
Autosport
Earnhardt's one-off race still on despite plane crash
Earnhardt's one-off race still on despite plane crash

Dale Earnhardt Jr's plan to contest next weekend's NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington is still on despite his recent plane crash.

Earnhardt, who retired from full-time NASCAR competition at the end of the 2017 season, has still competed in one Xfinity race each season.

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His lone start this year was planned for August 31 at Darlington Raceway.

Last Thursday a plane carrying Earnhardt and his family crashed and burst into flames at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Tennessee.

They quickly escaped, with Earnhardt the only passenger taken to hospital but released with minor injuries several hours later.

In a message on his Twitter account, Earnhardt said "I plan on driving still" at Darlington and outlined more details of his injuries from the crash for the first time.

"My lower back is bruised up real bad," he wrote.

"Lots of swelling and I just need that to go down and the pain to chill out."

Earnhardt's one-off race still on despite plane crash
Earnhardt's one-off race still on despite plane crash

Image courtesy of Jerry Jordan - Kickinthetires.net

Earnhardt said he had a "plan B but I hope not to use it".

The 44-year-old's JR Motorsports Chevrolet for Darlington is set to run in a paint scheme honouring his late father Dale Sr.

The livery is inspired by colours Dale Sr ran for his first Cup Series start, the 1975 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt qualified second and finished fourth in his 2018 one-off Xfinity race, which took place at Richmond.

The National Transportation and Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the Earnhardts' plane crash, with initial reports suggesting a breakage in its landing gear.

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