Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks out for 1st time since surviving plane crash

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The famed former NASCAR driver and his wife were on a private jet Thursday that crashed into a fence at the end of a runway upon landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in east Tennessee, officials said.

Earnhardt Jr. released a statement on Twitter, thanking his fans and others who have supported them with messages, phone calls and prayers since the crash.

Earnhardt and his wife, Amy, their 1-year-old daughter, Isla Rose, their dog, Gus, and two pilots were on board at the time.

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The crash remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, which says video shows the plane bounced twice off the runway, which caused part of its landing gear to collapse.

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Four hours before the Cessna burst into flames at an airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee, Earnhardt posted on Facebook that he finally found one particular artifact connected to the career of his legendary father, the late Dale Earnhardt. "It has been important to do that together and on our own time".

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Earnhardt Jr, a two-time Daytona 500 victor who has been a sports analyst for NBC since his retirement from racing in 2017, was en route to NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Bass Pro Shops/NRA Night Race in Bristol, Tennessee, about 20 miles from Elizabethton, when the crash occurred.

Until Monday, his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, was the only family member communicating with the public. "We'll have no further comment until we have more details".

Hicks also said investigators had talked to the Earnhardt family. Earnhardt was set to be in the broadcasting booth for NBC for the race, but was given the day off after the accident. "I recently got ahold of the uniform he used to win a handful of races in that vehicle", Earnhardt Jr.

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