Dale Earnhardt Jr. achieved a longtime dream just before he and his family were involved in a fiery plane crash Thursday afternoon.
Four hours before his Cessna burst into flames at an airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee, the retired NASCAR driver took to Facebook to share the news that he’d finally gotten his hands on something that used to belong to his late father racing legend Dale Earnhardt, leading some fans to wonder whether or not his dad's spirit played a role in the family's miraculous surivial.
“Most folks know I have in my possession the NOVA that dad raced in @xfinityracing during the mid 1980s. I recently got ahold of the uniform he used to win a handful of races in that car,” Earnhardt Jr., 44, wrote alongside a photo (below) of his dad’s vintage uniform. “Pretty awesome to pair the two items.”
Earnhardt Jr., his wife Amy, their one-year-old daughter Isla, their dog Gus, and two pilots were reportedly treated and released from a local hospital after the scary crash out of an abundance of caution. In a statement Friday, his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, said that all parties are doing well. The crash remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Nearly all of the 1,000-plus comments on the post are from fans expressing their joy that the family is OK. Many suggested that perhaps one or both of Earnhardt Jr.'s late parents (his mom passed away in April following a battle with cancer) were protecting their son and his family from above on that fateful day.
The racecar-driver-turned-NBC-analyst is a prolific collector of NASCAR memorabilia. He reportedly keeps more than 75 wrecked race cars on his North Carolina property called Dirty Mo Acres.
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We hope he’s feeling well enough to enjoy this latest acquisition soon!