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NTSB Releases Statement of Probable Cause For August 2019 Crash of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Plane

(Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

It’s been just over a year since the NASCAR world sighed a huge sigh of relief, when Dale Earnhardt Jr., his family and pilots all walked away from a scary plane crash in Elizabethton, TN. On Wednesday, the NTSB (National Transportation Board of Safety) released their determination of probable cause for the accident.

Here is the full statement from the NTSB:

“The pilot’s continuation of an unstabilized approach despite recognizing associated cues and the flight crew’s decision not to initiate a go-around before touchdown, which resulted in a bounced landing, a loss of airplane control, a landing gear collapse, and a runway excursion. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to deploy the speedbrakes during the initial touchdown, which may have prevented the runway excursion, and the pilot’s attempt to go around after deployment of the thrust reversers.”

The crash occurred on August 15, 2019. It was a scary moment, which was caught on film. Making the situation appear even scarier, is that the plane fully engulfed in flames.

JR Motorsports Plane Crashes on Runway, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Wife Amy and Daughter Isla Are Safe

The day following the crash, the NTSB Senior Investigator announced that the plane carrying Earnhardt, his family and two pilots had a firm landing and bounced twice before skidding off the runway and crashing through a fence.

NTSB Senior Investigator: Earnhardt’s Plane Had Firm Landing, Bounced Twice

On August 23, 2019, just days after the plane crash, the NTSB released their initial preliminary report of what caused the plane to crash on the runway, and that conclusion was that the landing gear had failed.

NTSB Has Released it’s Preliminary Report on Earnhardt Plane Crash

After the latest statement from the NTSB on Wednesday, it seems the landing gear failure, which led to the plane crashing off of the runway, may have been preventable.

Toby Christie View All

Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.

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