PATRICK SPRINGS, Va. -- Crews on all-terrain vehicles yesterday recovered the bodies of all 10 people killed in the crash of a Hendrick Motorsports plane that was carrying family and friends of one of NASCAR's top syndicates.
Federal investigators said they did not know what caused the Beech 200 King Air to crash Sunday en route from Concord, N.C., to Martinsville Speedway, about 7 miles east of the crash site on Bull Mountain in the foothills of the Appalachians.
Hendrick Motorsports identified the dead as Ricky Hendrick, 24, Rick Hendrick's son; John Hendrick, Rick Hendrick's brother and president of Hendrick Motorsports; Kimberly and Jennifer Hendrick, John Hendrick's 22-year-old twin daughters; Joe Jackson, an executive with DuPont; Jeff Turner, general manager of Hendrick Motorsports; Randy Dorton, 50, the team's chief engine builder; Scott Lathram, 38, a pilot for NASCAR driver Tony Stewart; and pilots Richard Tracy, 51, of Charlotte, N.C., and Elizabeth Morrison, 31. A bulldozer cleared a path to the crash site so ATVs could recover the bodies.
Hendrick, 53, did not join the flight to Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway because he was not feeling well, a team spokesman said. Hendrick Motorsports employs 460 workers at its North Carolina compound, which includes race shops and a 15,000-square-foot museum and store.
The organization has been on a seasonlong celebration of its 20th anniversary in NASCAR's top series. Hendrick has won five titles in the top series, three truck series championships, and one Busch series crown. The team has more than 100 Cup series wins, making Rick Hendrick just the second team owner in NASCAR's modern era to surpass that mark.
News of the crash halted Hendrick driver Jimmie Johnson's victory celebration after the Subway 500 in Martinsville as word of the deaths reached the team, which also includes drivers Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte, and Brian Vickers.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose father was killed in a 2001 crash during the Daytona 500, said this latest tragedy hit the racing community "like a hammer to the chest."
A memorial of flowers, balloons, and handwritten signs and cards grew larger yesterday outside the Hendrick Motorsports racing shop in North Carolina.