Martinsville, VA NASCAR Team Plane Crash, Oct 2004
TEN ARE KILLED IN CRASH OF NASCAR TEAM PLANE.
Martinsville, Va., Oct. 24 - A plane owned by the NASCAR race team Hendrick Motorsports crashed Sunday en route to the Subway 500 Nextel Cup race at Martinsville Speedway, killing all 10 on board.
Eight passengers and two pilots were on the Beech 200, and a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board told The Associated Press that no one survived.
Jim Hunter, NASCAR'S vice president
for corporate communications, said the plane had taken off from Concord, N.C. The A.P. reported that it crashed about 12:30 p.m. in the Bull Mountain area about seven miles west of Blue Ridge Airport near Martinsville.
Hunter said the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were investigating the crash.
Harry Litten, manager at Moody's Funeral Service in Stuart, Va., said the Virginia State Police had listed the dead as:
RICKY HENDRICK, son of the team owner, Rick Hendrick.
JOHN HENDRICK, brother of Rick Hendrick and president of the race team.
KIMBERLY and JENNIFER HENDRICK, twin daughters of JOHN HENDRICK.
SCOTT LATHAM, a pilot for the driver Tony Stewart.
RANDY DORTON, engine director for the Hendrick team.
JEFF TURNER, the team's vice president and general manager.
DICK TRACY, pilot.
LIZ MORRISON, pilot.
"The F.A.A. and the N.T.S.B. along with the state of Virginia are investigating, and we don't have any details," Hunter said.
The company issued a statement that said, "Hendrick Motorsports asks that those affected be kept in your thoughts and prayers, and respectfully requests that privacy be considered throughout this difficult time."
Information about the crash was relayed to NASCAR officials during the race. Hunter said officials with Hendrick Motorsports withheld the news from the teams until after the race.
All team members, including Jimmie Johnson, the winner of the race, were taken to the NASCAR hauler immediately afterward. There was no celebration in victory lane.
Others who drive for Hendrick Motorsports include the four time season points champion Jeff Gordon, the two time champion Terry Labonte, and the rookie Brian Vickers.
Hendrick Motorsports, based in Charlotte, N.C., is among the most successful teams in NASCAR, with 128 victories and 5 championships in 20 years in NASCAR'S elite series. This season, Johnson leads all drivers with six victories, including the past two races, and Gordon is in second place in the Nextel Cup standing with four races remaining. He finished ninth Sunday and is 96 points behind the leader, Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., is 125 points behind, and Johnson is 207 back after holding off Jamie McMurray for his first Nextel Cup short track victory.
Ricky Hendrick, 24, raced briefly in the Busch Series and the Craftsman Truck Series, then retired after an accident in 2002. He was co-owner of the Busch Series race team led by Kyle Busch and the Nextel Cup team led by Vickers.
"Very somber moments," Kurt Busch, who finished fifth on Sunday, said,
"Of course, everybody in this sport will pull together to support
the Hendrick family. I'm very sorry."
New York Times New York 2004-10-25