Sixteen-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force was examined and released at a Phoenix-area hospital after a frightening crash during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix.
Force was taken by ambulance to nearby Chandler Regional Hospital, where he was examined and released, apparently uninjured from the hard wreck that involved him and Swedish driver Jonnie Lindberg.
In a twist of fate, the 68-year-old Force was released in time to return to the racetrack to celebrate daughter Courtney’s event win in the Funny Car class.
It also marked two weeks to the day since another of Force’s racing daughters, defending NHRA Top Fuel champ Brittany Force, suffered a hard hit in the season-opening Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California. She had spent the time since then recovering from a concussion and heavy bruising from the lateral hit that destroyed her dragster.
“This was a great day for John Force Racing,” John Force said in a statement after returning to the track. “Brittany came back from a crash at Pomona and won first round and Courtney won Funny Car for Advance Auto Parts. My struggles continue, but I’m a big boy, I’ll fix it.”
John Force fell to 11th in the Funny Car standings after his wreck.
“My struggles continue, but I’m a big boy, I’ll fix it,” Force said. “Really glad to know that Jonnie Lindberg is okay. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. I think I still have another championship in me. Depending on what the doctors say, I’m gonna come out and watch Robert test his Auto Club Chevrolet tomorrow and then get ready for Gainesville.”
ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS:
16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Jonnie Lindberg.
The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.
Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.
Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.
Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.
Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.
Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.
Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.
To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.
Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:
This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:
Force’s daughter, Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, suffered a hard wreck at Pomona, but recovered in time to race this weekend in Phoenix.
We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.