NASCAR Owner Hendrick Hurt In Florida Plane Crash
KEY WEST, Fla. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) - A well known NASCAR owner and his wife are recovering at a Florida hospital after their plane crash landed at an airport in Key West.
Rick Hendrick and his wife Linda were flying into Key West Monday night when the Gulfstream 150 they were riding in crash landed.
A spokeswoman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Key West says the pilot and co-pilot of Gulfstream 150 jet radioed to the Key West International Airport that the plane’s brakes were failing, moments before crash landing around 7:45 p.m. eastern time.
The plane is registered to Jimmie Johnson Racing II Incorporated out of Charlotte, N.C. Johnson was not on the plane at the time of the accident.
Hendrick also owns racing teams for NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Hendrick recently celebrated his 199th career victory in the Sprint Cup Series as an owner.
Airport director Peter Horton said the plane ran off the runway, and then 100 feet beyond a 600-foot safety area that was finished in May.
“If we hadn’t done that, it likely would have been a different story,” Horton said of the safety area that is meant as a runway overrun space.
Photographs of the crash show the plane largely intact and with its nose resting on the ground about 20 feet in front of a chain-linked airport boundary fence.
The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified of the crash and will be conducting an investigation.
All four were taken to the Lower Keys Medical Center. The Hendricks had minor injuries and the pilot and co-pilot were taken in as a precaution, said county airport director Peter Horton.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series moves to Fort Worth this weekend for the AAA 500. There are three races remaining in the 2011 season, including Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Jimmie Johnson is currently in 6th place in the 2011 NASCAR standings. Earnhardt is in 9th, Gordon 10th and Martin 20th.
In 2004, a plane Hendrick owned crashed en route to a race in Martinsville, Va., killing all 10 onboard. That included Hendrick’s son, Ricky, his brother and twin nieces.