Hendrick Motorsports plane makes emergency landing in Memphis

WMC Action News 5
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A Hendrick Motorsports airplane made an emergency landing at Memphis (Tenn.) International Airport when smoke was reported in the cabin and cockpit by the crew, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

There were no injuries. Passengers exited on the runway and were transported to the terminal. The plane, which was carrying team members back to North Carolina after Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, did not have any of the team’s drivers on it, a team spokesperson told NBC Sports.

The passengers returned home on team another plane.

The FAA stated that it is investigating the matter.

A Hendrick Motorsports spokesperson told NBC Sports on Monday afternoon that they did not have an update on how the team might transport its employees to Phoenix for this weekend’s race should the plane in Memphis remain there.

FlightAware.com, which tracks airplanes, reported that a Hendrick Motorsports plane left McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas at 10:22 p.m. ET and made a stopover for fuel at 12:37 a.m. ET at Tulsa (Okla.) International Airport. The plane then left Tulsa at 1:17 a.m. ET on its way to Concord, North Carolina, before landing in Memphis at 2:31 a.m. ET.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s airplane registry lists the Hendrick plane as an Embraer E-145 twin jet aircraft that was manufactured in 2003. The plane’s most recent certificate issue was June 8, 2015. The certificate expires June 20, 2018.

FlightAware.com listed another Hendrick plane arriving at 5:25 a.m. ET at Memphis to take team members back to North Carolina.  That plane had returned to Concord, North Carolina, from Las Vegas at 2:46 a.m. ET. It left for Memphis at 4:01 a.m. ET to pick up the stranded team members and returned to Concord with them at 7:18 a.m. ET.

Hendrick Motorsports has endured aviation incidents previously. A team plane crashed in Oct. 2004 after overshooting a runway in Virginia and hitting a mountain. All 10 aboard were killed, including car owner Rick Hendrick’s brother, son and two nieces.

In Oct. 2011, a plane registered to Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson carrying Hendrick and his wife, lost its brakes and ran off the runaway at Key West International Airport. Hendrick suffered four broken ribs, a broken clavicle and a concussion.