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.