MOORESVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - A day after that frightening plane crash involving Dale Earnhardt Jr and his family, many of his fans are expressing gratitude that no one was hurt. Dale Jr. was named Most Popular Driver a record fifteen times during his career, and fans enthusiasm and love for Jr haven’t dimmed since he stopped driving in 2017.
“He’s definitely an icon in the sport, no doubt," said Robert Murphy, visiting Mooresville from Pittsburgh, PA.
Sure, he’s the son of a 7 time champion who was one of the sport’s greatest ever, but Dale Earnhardt, Jr, established his own legacy, both on and off the track.
“I think the thing that makes Dale Jr. special is he’s a down to earth guy that is still accessible," said Dan Breeden. “Obviously today we’re just real thankful that the news was what it was, that Dale Jr, and his entire family and crew are safe and that’s a big blessing for us.”
Especially in Mooresville where he has a home, a race shop, and a tradition of helping the community.
Fans visiting JR Motorsports on Friday wanted to talk about that, and about how happy they are that this plane crash wasn’t as tragic as it could have been.
“You have that heartsick feeling that this can’t be happening, you know, I mean it’s that momentary fright hearing that something has happened again, and thank God it was not that way," Breeden added.
Not like in 1993 when NASCAR star Alan Kulwicki died in a plane crash near a different airport in the Bristol area. It’s a necessity for NASCAR drivers, families, and team to to be frequent fliers, and tragedy can occur…fortunately this time, it didn’t.
“Everybody is okay, that’s the important thing in unfortunate events like that," Murphy added.
“It’s just phenomenal when you look at that footage that anybody survived that, so we’re just real thankful as part of the Earnhardt nation," Breeden said.