'Residual Effects' of 2019 Crash Remain for Earnhardt Daughter

Racing star's wife, Amy, says 3-year-old Isla still gets frightened at takeoff
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2022 8:36 AM CST
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Little Girl Can't Forget 2019 Plane Crash
NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Dale Earnhardt Jr., left, poses for photos with his family prior to the ceremony on Jan. 21, 2022, in Charlotte, NC.   (AP Photo/Matt Kelley)

(Newser) – When Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s private plane caught fire and ran off the runway during a crash landing in Tennessee in August 2019, reports noted that the racing legend and his family escaped with just "cuts and abrasions." But while the physical effects may have been minimal, Earnhardt's wife, Amy Reimann, now tells People it's been a hard mental adjustment since to partake in air travel—even for the couple's 3 1/2-year-old daughter, Isla, who was just 15 months old when the plane crashed.

The 39-year-old mom of two says "it took me about a year before I could get on the plane and just not get super nervous," but it's her older daughter—she and Earnhardt also have a 16-month-old daughter, Nicole—who still seems to have "residual effects" from the accident. "For a while, she would tremble and shake" upon takeoff whenever they traveled by plane, Reimann says, adding: "It was before she was talking, so we really couldn't talk through it with her. That was hard."

Isla still gets scared when the plane is lifting into the air, but Reimann says the couple now simply hold her hand to calm her. The experience hasn't seemed to otherwise dampen the daredevil drive Isla inherited from her dad: Per a report last year from For the Win, the little girl received a go-kart in April for her 3rd birthday, and she immediately climbed in and hit the gas, gushing, "It's so cool ... [Let's] go to the racetrack!" (Read more Dale Earnhardt Jr. stories.)

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