It’s concerning to all… Driver’s react to Earnhardt Jr. plane crash ahead of Saturday race

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
BRISTOL- It was just a subject that no one could get away from on Friday during media interviews after the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers completed their final practice heading into Saturday’s 59th Annual Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
That subject was the horrendous plane crash involving the former driver and now analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr as his plane carrying his family crashed at the Elizabethton Municipal Airport bursting into flames and eventually being a total loss.
Earnhardt Jr., his wife, child, and family dog along with his pilots walked out of the burning plane after the crash and before the plane was totally destroyed by fire.
“I am glad he is okay and his family is okay along with the pilots,” said Kurt Busch when asked about the crash. “It was a tough situation. We all travel quite a bit and it was tough to read about it and I am sure the facts will start to unfold for us and figure out what happened.
“I am just glad everybody is okay and we’ll miss him this weekend. It’s best for him to be at home. His motor home was parked next to mine and he was leaving last night as we were pulling in.
“It’s tough when you are missing a good friend from the race track.”
Clint Bowyer said that the accident should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who witnessed the accident on video.
“You just sit there with your wife- we were driving up the road and all of a sudden your phone starts blowing up and it’s always scary for me,” Bowyer stated. “It takes your breath away. Those are people who are our friends and family of NASCAR and when you see them in trouble like when you see that video, that hits home man. 
“That’s how we travel. Gus comes out of that thing and I can see Tripp in the same way and my wife and I just couldn’t imagine.
“You really can’t put yourself in that situation,” Bowyer continued. “It’s very, very scary for all of us to have to watch that and thank God they got out of it and thank God they are all safe.
“That is definitely a wake-up call to all of us and we are very fortunate to fly around and do the things that we do but it’s still a dangerous sport no matter where you look. and things like that that are luxurious to travel are still dangerous.”
Even though Dale Jr. and Kyle Busch had many battles on the track at Bristol Motor Speedway, Busch said that news of the magnitude of hearing of a crash like Earnhardt Jr. would give anyone a sinking feeling.
 
“It’s scary anytime you hear about those things and see those things and certainly when I heard about it, my pilot actually called me and said, “Hey have you heard this or seen this yet,” and he explained to me all that happened,” Busch stated.
“As soon as he said Junior’s plane went down, my heart just dropped. My first thing was like are there any survivors because you don’t know any details until they start coming out and you start hearing things.
“It’s a scary situation you know,” Busch continued. “As much as we do travel. I know that he has had his pilots for a really long time and I don’t know any details past what you guys already know because I haven’t spoken to anybody.
“Everybody has procedures and protocol and things like that and I feel like Cessna and Textron Aviation do an amazing job. They actually help me manage my aircraft and I have the same plane that Dale Jr. has.”
The NTSB stated in a Friday afternoon 2 pm news conference that it could take up to seven days before a more in-depth report will be released on the crash as the plane will be disassembled and moved to a location for further investigation.

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