John Force not only believes in giving back, he also believes in paying it forward.
Even though it’s been nearly seven years since it happened, the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion still recalls the worst crash of his career late in the 2007 season at the Texas Motorplex, as if it was yesterday.
“When I had my accident in 2007, the doctors told me I’d be lucky to walk, let alone drive a race again,” Force said in a media release.
That’s why it was so meaningful for Force to help primary sponsor Castrol Oil donate and dedicate a state-of-the-art WT-960 TRAN-SIT Car Transfer Simulator Thursday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Wayne, N.J.
“I was even more determined to prove them (doctors) wrong and began going through recovery and rehab on car simulator just like this one,” Force said. “Since then, I’ve won two NHRA Funny Car Championships.”
The simulator is designed to help patients at the hospital to “reclaim their independence by providing them a convenient and safe method of regaining their basic driving skills within a controlled environment,” according to the release.
Force suffered a long list of injuries in his horrific wreck at Texas (see three videos below), including a compound fracture of his left ankle, severe abrasion and tendon damage to his right knee and leg, a dislocated and broken left wrist and several broken fingers on his right hand.
Playing a key role in his more than six months of therapy and rehabilitation were dozens of hours spent on a car simulator similar to the one he donated Thursday.
And given that the hospital is near one of the NHRA’s oldest and most popular racetracks – Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., site of this weekend’s NHRA Summernationals – it was a fitting recipient for the simulator.
“The simulated car or vehicle that we have on the unit will allow our patients the freedom and ability to get back on the road as well as feel safe about it,” said Dr. Massod, Medical Director of the Acute Rehabilitation Unit. “They will also be safe for other passengers and other drivers.
“The fact that John and Brittany Force came out today to support this product and show that there is a need for rehabilitation equipment like this. We are very grateful to them and Castrol BP.”
Joining her father for the dedication, 2013 NHRA Rookie of the Year Brittany Force recalled what he went through following the worst wreck and injuries of his career.
“We were worried about my dad after that horrible crash and questioned if he’d ever race again,” Brittany Force said. “After seeing his hard work and determination (to come back from his Texas wreck), he’s inspired all of us.”
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