Dale Earnhardt Jr. 'feeling great' as he prepares to race after plane crash

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he was “feeling great” Friday, just over two weeks after he and his wife Amy and daughter Isla walked away from their plane that crash-landed at a Tennessee airport.

Junior and his family were en route to Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 15 when their plane bounced and skidded off the runway at the Elizabethton (Tenn.) Municipal Airport. Both pilots were also able to walk off the plane as it caught fire as well as the Earnhardts’ dog. No one sustained any serious injuries in the crash.

“Very lucky and very thankful that we’re able to carry on and plan the rest of our lives and feel very lucky of course,” Earnhardt Jr. said Friday at Darlington. “Without a doubt. It’s hard to overstate that.”

Junior was transported to a local hospital after the crash but was released a short time later. He took the weekend off from his regular broadcasting duties with NBC. He did not address any of the details of the crash during his media availability on Friday.

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Plane crash involving Dale Earnhardt Jr. and family
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Plane crash involving Dale Earnhardt Jr. and family
The burned remains of a plane that was carrying NASCAR television analyst and former driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. lies near a runway Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Elizabethton, Tenn. Officials said the Cessna Citation rolled off the end of a runway and caught fire after landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport. Earnhardt's sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, tweeted that "everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation." (WJHL TV via AP)
The burned remains of a plane that was carrying NASCAR television analyst and former driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. lies near a runway Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Elizabethton, Tenn. Officials said the Cessna Citation rolled off the end of a runway and caught fire after landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport. Earnhardt's sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, tweeted that "everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation." (WJHL TV via AP)
The burned remains of a plane that was carrying NASCAR television analyst and former driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. lies near a runway Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Elizabethton, Tenn. Officials said the Cessna Citation rolled off the end of a runway and caught fire after landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport. Earnhardt's sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, tweeted that "everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation." (WJHL TV via AP)
The burned remains of a plane that was carrying NASCAR television analyst and former driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. lies near a runway Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Elizabethton, Tenn. Officials said the Cessna Citation rolled off the end of a runway and caught fire after landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport. Earnhardt's sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, tweeted that "everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation." (WJHL TV via AP)
The wreckage of a plane crash involving NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family, who survived the incident, in Elizabethton, Tennessee, U.S. August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
The wreckage of a plane crash involving NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family, who survived the incident, in Elizabethton, Tennessee, U.S. August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
A police officer photographs the wreckage of a plane crash involving NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family, who survived the incident, in Elizabethton, Tennessee, U.S. August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
A police officer looks at the wreckage of a plane crash involving NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family, who survived the incident, in Elizabethton, Tennessee, U.S. August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
A police officer walks past the wreckage of a plane crash involving NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family, who survived the incident, in Elizabethton, Tennessee, U.S. August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
The wreckage of a plane crash involving NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family, who survived the incident, in Elizabethton, Tennessee, U.S. August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Firefighters walk past the wreckage of a plane crash involving NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family, who survived the incident, in Elizabethton, Tennessee, U.S. August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
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Earnhardt Jr. is set to race in Saturday’s Xfinity race at Darlington in his only NASCAR start of the season. He’s made one Xfinity Series start per season since retiring from the Cup Series at the end of the 2017 season. He raced at Richmond last year and said Friday that he’s looking at Homestead in 2020 if all goes well on the sponsor front. He’s driving the No. 8 car for his JR Motorsports team in Saturday’s race.

Junior admitted last week that his back was sore from the crash but said Friday that he was good to go and had no issues on Thursday when he was driving a different car around the track.

“My back healed really quickly,” Earnhardt Jr. “Got some great treatment and help from doctors there to get — I drove a two-seater yesterday for an hour-and-a-half and didn’t have one issue with soreness back there and that seat’s not even my seat. So this seat should be formed to me and very comfortable and should be no problem.”

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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