Following a Kobalt 400 weekend in Las Vegas filled with excitement and extreme weather condition, it seems that members of the Hendrick Motorsports team also ended up facing an eventful plane ride on their way back.
One of the team’s planes was making a trip back with a number of team members when smoke suddenly appeared in the cabin. Fortunately, the Hendrick Motorsports plane was diverted to the Memphis International Airport where it managed to land safely. The passengers deplaned and were transferred to another flight to North Carolina. In the meantime, a spokesperson from the team said the plane is now being evaluated.
During the time of the incident, none of the team’s four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers had been onboard the aircraft. Among the passengers was Tim O’ Brien, the engineer of No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Earl Barban, spotter for No. 48 Jimmie Johnson.
Meanwhile, as the race heads to Phoenix for the Good Sam 500 race at the Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, Stewart-Haas Racing has announced that Ty Dillon will be back as the replacement driver for injured Tony Stewart. He had and Brian Vickers had been taking turns racing the No. 14 Chevrolet in Stewart’s absence.
Stewart remains in recovery following his ATV accident on Jan. 31 in Arizona. As for his return to NASCAR, the three-time champion said he is taking his time. “We’re not rushing. The number one goal is to get it right the first time,” Stewart explained.
Meanwhile, it seems that the world of NASCAR cannot seem to get away from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. According to Yahoo! Sports, Trump had reiterated again on Monday how much he appreciates what he refers to as an endorsement from NASCAR.
In his speech, Trump said, “I want to thank NASCAR. Brian France was with us last week at a venue and he got up on behalf of NASCAR.”
In response, NASCAR issued a statement saying, “NASCAR has not and does not endorse political candidates.”
NASCAR statement: "NASCAR has not and does not endorse political candidates."
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) March 7, 2016