Saturday, November 11, 2017

Incident occurred November 11, 2017 at Clinton National Airport (KLIT), Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas

The three JR Motorsports NASCAR Xfinity teams competing for the series championship at Phoenix will be without their full complement of pit crew members in Saturday’s race.

A ConSeaAir jet carrying several NASCAR team members, including the majority of JR Motorsports’ four Xfinity pit crews, was forced to make an emergency landing in Arkansas on Saturday morning, team officials confirmed.

JRM drivers William Byron, Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier will have to compete in Saturday’s Ticket Galaxy 200 with pit crews all missing a vast majority of their regular team members.

Saturday’s race will determine the four drivers who will compete for the 2017 series championship next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Ryan Pemberton, director of competition at JRM, said Hendrick Motorsports had dispatched a plane from Phoenix to pick up the JRM members but they will not be back to Phoenix in time to participate in the race.

“A large majority of our pit crew guys are stuck on that plane in Arkansas. So, HMS is going to pick them up but they will not be here in time for the race,” Pemberton said.

“We have some guys that we normally use, we have some guys that are training with HMS and we have a little bit of help from some of our Chevrolet partners. There’s a few other teams that have a few guys who will assist us.

“We’re still working exactly who’s on first and what’s on second. It’s kind of like that routine right now.”

The ConSeaAir plane was also carrying some members of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams that were not planning to compete until Sunday’s race.

According to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro, the flight registered to DynaStar, was an E 145 aircraft flying between Memphis, Tenn., and Amarillo, Texas, when the pilot asked to divert to Little Rock, Ark., due to electrical problems.

The flight landed in Little Rock without incident and taxied to park at a gate, Molinaro said.

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JR Motorsports, which has three of its cars contending for a spot in the championship round, will be without “a little more than half” of its pit crew after a charter plane carrying them made an emergency landing Saturday in Arkansas.

The plane was flying from Memphis, Tennessee, to Amarillo, Texas on its way to Phoenix when it experienced an electrical issue, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The crew declared an emergency and landed without incident at 7:43 a.m. CT at Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas, Ryan DiVita, director of marketing and sales for AeroDynamics, Inc., the plane carrier, told NBC Sports.

“The crew did exactly what they should,” DiVita said.

He said that pilots followed a checklist that the plane should land at the nearest suitable airport.

There were 51 people on the Embraer 145, according to a spokesperson at Clinton National Airport.

The plane was grounded because of the electrical issue and no other plane was available to send the passengers to Phoenix in time for Saturday’s race.

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