UPDATED — NHRA: Courtney Force escapes serious injury after Seattle crash

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For the second consecutive race, one of NHRA’s biggest female stars has been involved in a crash.

Last week, it was Alexis DeJoria, who suffered a fractured left pelvis when her car turned into the retaining wall at Sonoma, California. DeJoria was forced to miss this weekend’s race as a result.

Sunday, it was Courtney Force who hit the wall with her Funny Car during the first round of eliminations of the Protect The Harvest NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in suburban Seattle.

Force climbed out of the car under her own power, was examined at the track medical center and then sent by ambulance to a nearby hospital for further evaluation and treatment of possible head, neck, knee, elbow and shoulder injuries.

After several hours of evaluation, Force was released from the hospital Sunday evening.

“I am beat up pretty good,” Force said in a statement. “My arm, my shoulder and my right knee are banged up.

“I am really thankful that the second I got out of the race car there was already a Safety Safari person right there to help me get down. I couldn’t put any weight on my right knee. I want to say thanks to everyone that was at the track who helped me. I got right to the ER and the doctor checked me out. I am extremely relieved nothing is broken.”

Force had X-rays of her right elbow, left elbow and left shoulder, as well as a CT scan of her head and cervical spine. All results were negative.

However, Force does have a contusion to a tendon in her left knee due to contact with the steering wheel upon her Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car impacting the wall. Force is expected to be sore for the next few days and will follow up with a sports orthopedist “for continued evaluation and to make sure there is not a partial tendon tear in the knee,” according to the media release.

The impact was one of the hardest Force has had in her career.

“I have to thank everyone at Simpson Racing and their Stilo helmet for protecting me,” Force said. “To hit a concrete guard wall and move it two feet and not break any bones is a testament to their equipment and NHRA safety requirements.

“I am going to see a physical therapist in (Lake) Tahoe. Thankfully we have a weekend off. My goal is to get healed up as soon as possible. … Luckily we have some time and can get the car fixed up and my own body fixed up. I am looking forward to getting back as fast as I can. I want to thank all the fans for all their support.”

Force was racing Jeff Diehl in a first-round matchup when the incident occurred.

“I am disappointed because I really wanted that win,” Force said. “I pedaled the car repeatedly hoping to just run him down but I got a little too aggressive. I think I hit the wall right where Ashley (her sister) crashed a few years ago.”

Upon her release from the hospital, Force tried to inject a little humor to the situation by adding, “I definitely have a love/hate relationship with this track since I have won here twice and have (also) had two incidents but I’m happy to be safe.”

Force hopes to return to action at the next NHRA national event two weeks from now in Brainerd, Minnesota. She is currently ranked second in the Funny Car standings and has qualified for the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff.

After winning the first two races of the Western Swing, Courtney’s father, 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force, failed to complete a three-race sweep, losing to Tommy Johnson Jr., also in the first round of eliminations. The elder Force was with his daughter at the hospital.

Courtney Force is married to IndyCar driver Graham Rahal.

Rahal posted the following tweets about his wife’s condition:

DeJoria, who is recovering from her injury, tweeted her support to Courtney Force.

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Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”