Memory Of Plane Crash That Gutted HMS Won’t Fade
Rick Hendrick's NASCAR team was decimated by an airplane crash near Martinsville 10 years ago. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)
By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Ten years ago race day at Martinsville Speedway dawned with a heavy fog enveloping the half-mile track and the surrounding countryside.
The fog was so thick on Oct. 24, 2004 that team owner Roger Penske’s plane was among those who diverted to Danville, Va. However, the Hendrick Motorsports Beechcraft Super King Air 200 elected to stay with its original flight plan and land at Blue Ridge Airport in Martinsville. It proved to be a fatal decision for the plane’s eight passengers and two pilots.
Perishing that day in a violent crash on Bull Mountain were: Rick and Linda Hendrick’s only son, Ricky; the team owner’s brother and Hendrick Motorsports president John Hendrick; his twin daughters, Kimberly and Jennifer; the organization’s general manager Jeff Turner; chief engine builder Randy Dorton; DuPont executive Joe Jackson; Tony Stewart’s helicopter pilot Scott Lathram; and Hendrick pilots Richard Tracy and Elizabeth Morrison.
Before the Subway 500 ended, word of the crash began filtering through the media. Rick Hendrick was informed of the tragedy about midway through the event. However, the competitors knew nothing of the crash until after the checkered flag. NASCAR summoned all of the Hendrick drivers, including race winner Jimmie Johnson, to the sanctioning’s body’s hauler to give them the devastating news. All victory lane ceremonies Read the full story »