Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife and daughter survived a scary plane crash earlier this month

By Lindsay Kimble
August 31, 2019 08:01 PM

For only the second time since retiring, Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove in a race at the Darlington Raceway on Saturday. The Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway came just two weeks after surviving a scary plane crash.

Earnhardt Jr., 44, drove the No. 8 Chevrolet car for JR Motorsports, which was painted in a tribute to his late father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., who won his first Cup Series with the car in 1975.

Earnhardt Jr. placed fifth with Cole Custer winning after Denny Hamlin was disqualified due to a failed post-race inspection.

Ahead of Saturday’s race, Earnhardt Jr. confirmed to fans that the injuries he suffered in the crash wouldn’t affect him driving at Darlington.

He said at the time, “I plan on driving still. My lower back is bruised up real bad. Lots of swelling and I just need that to go down and the pain to chill out. I been treating the area every day solely to get well to race. I have a plan B but hope not to use it.”

RELATED: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Plane ‘Bounced’ Twice on Runway Before Crashing, NTSB Says

Earnhardt Jr. and his wife, Amy Earnhardt, and their young daughter, Isla Rose, were in the fiery plane crash in Tennessee on Aug. 15.

The crash occurred at the Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton. “A Cessna Citation rolled off the end of Runway 24 and caught fire after landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Tennessee at 3:40 p.m. today,” an FAA statement read, according to The Tennessean.

Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC/USA Today Network/Sipa USA

An Elizabethton Fire Department official told PEOPLE that Amy, 37, and Dale were transported to the hospital out of an abundance of caution and without serious injuries.

RELATED VIDEO: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Wife Amy and Their Young Daughter Taken To Hospital After Fiery Plane Crash

Later, Ralph Hicks, a senior investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, said in a press conference that “the airplane basically bounced at least twice before coming down hard on the right main landing gear. The airplane continued down the runway off to the end, through a fence and it came to a stop on Highway 91.”