Courtney Force will return to action for this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota.
John Force Racing announced Force will race, nearly two weeks after a hard wreck at Seattle left her battered and bruised, but with no major injuries.
“I am excited to get back in the seat,” Force said in a media release. “After how I last left the track I am definitely ready to get back in the car and go down the race track.”
Force suffered bumps and bruises in one of the hardest wrecks of her career after her car left the starting line and then veered left and into a concrete protective wall.
“I have been going through physical therapy every day,” Force said. “I have been working with Dr. (Robert) Ortmeyer, who is the same doctor that worked with my dad (16-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force) after his crash (in 2007).
“I am seeing huge progress every day with my knee. I have gone from being on crutches the first couple of days to getting comfortable walking on it to being able to bend it all the way now. We have gone through a crash course of rehab. I definitely feel good enough to be back in the race car. That’s my throttle leg so I will be ready to pound on the throttle for sure.”
Force is comfortably locked into the upcoming six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff and could theoretically have missed Brainerd and the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis two more weeks from now.
But she didn’t want to miss any action.
“I didn’t want to lose out on racing Brainerd because this is the time to get everything in order for Indy and the Countdown,” Force said. “You never want to crash but thankfully I have great guys at the shop in Indy that were ready to go to work on it.
“Since my team had to do so much extra work I sent them a deal called a “Man-crate” full of beef jerky and different kinds of nuts to say I was sorry for crashing the car.
“Going into Brainerd is huge because you mentally need to get prepared to go into the U.S. Nationals. I feel like I have a little bit of time to get back into my rhythm and focused on racing. From here on out the main focus is the championship. We are using Brainerd and Indy to really get ready for the Countdown. I want to mentally and physically be ready to go for it.”
Force just barely missed last year’s Countdown. But not this year.
“This is a huge turnaround from where we were last year,” Force said. “I think this is the best shot at the championship we have ever had. We are hopefully going into the Countdown in the No. 2 spot.
“We are trying to hold onto that position right now with two races left. Being in that spot would give us a lead going into the last six races of the rest of the Top Ten for the championship.
“This is the best time for me to really be on my game with reaction times. I have really been trying hard to be the most consistent that I have ever been before. If we can get everything right we definitely would have the full package. I think we have a great shot of going after the championship this year. I am not going to let that slip away.”
As for fellow driver and close friend Alexis DeJoria, who suffered a fractured left pelvis in a crash at Sonoma, California, one week before Force’s crash (and forced DeJoria to miss the Seattle race), her status for this week will be announced Thursday morning.