Earl Barban, the spotter for Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson, was one of multiple passengers on the plane, which was en route back to Charlotte, North Carolina from Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. None of Hendrick’s drivers were on board the aircraft, and there were no injuries.
Speaking with SiriusXM on Monday after returning home to Charlotte, Barban described the events that led to the emergency landing in Memphis after the plane had made a fuel stop in Oklahoma City.
"On our second leg we had like an hour and 50 minutes left and had a little smoke in the cabin there and they decided they should probably land, and we landed in Memphis, and they got us off the airplane and all the procedures and safety stuff was done," Barban told SiriusXM. "After they checked it out and things were good, we got all our stuff off the plane, sat in the FBO for a couple hours until our other plane could get refueled back in Concord (N.C.) and come get us, so it was a little bit of a delay getting home, but everybody was safe."
As for what caused the smoke to appear in the cabin, Barban could only speculate.
"It’s going to be some wiring or something like that," he said. "They didn’t really get into what the issue was, just that it was important to get us home, and now it’s the task at hand."