When crash killed a mechanic for Earnhardt-owned team, more than speed was a factor

A NASCAR mechanic on one of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Mooresville-based JR Motorsports teams had a blood-alcohol content more than three times the legal limit for driving when he died in a wreck in August, a toxicology report shows.

Adam Wright died when he veered off curvy Flower House Loop in Troutman and his car went airborne and crashed. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the State Highway Patrol.

Wright’s blood-alcohol content was 0.26, according to the toxicology report released to the Observer this week by the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office in Raleigh.

Lizzy, his black Lab, survived the wreck and stayed by Wright’s side. She was so protective of the 33-year-old JR Motorsports mechanic that she growled at troopers and emergency responders. They had to call in Iredell County Animal Control to restrain and remove her, State Highway Patrol Trooper J.S. Swagger said. Troopers provided Wright’s family contact information to the Animal Control workers so the dog would eventually end up back with his family, he said.

Adam Wright with his dog Lizzy. Courtesy of Derek Wilson

Both Lizzy and chihuahua Bentley, another of Wright’s best friends, attended his funeral at Rich Fork Baptist Church in Thomasville.

Tributes from the NASCAR community poured in the week Wright died, including from Earnhardt, other top Monster Energy Cup series drivers such as Brian Vickers and Regan Smith and other famous motorsports names, including Darrell Waltrip, Bobby and Terry Labonte, and Winston Kelly, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte.

Wright, too, came from a racing family. He was born in 1984, the same year his dad, a longtime NASCAR crew member, was on Terry Labonte’s NASCAR Winston Cup series championship team.

This year, Adam Wright joined driver Michael Annett’s JRM Xfinity Series No. 5 team car at JR Motorsports. He was the front-end mechanic.

“Adam wasn’t average,” JR Motorsports said in a video tribute released on Twitter several hours before his funeral. “He was better. He worked harder than most. He was a better teammate than most. And he was a better friend than most.

“Adam was always smiling, always laughing and always brightening your day, and that’s what makes losing him so tough,” the video said. “Adam Wright, we’ll race on, brother, but be assured of this, we’ll carry you with us the whole way.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak