Drag racer John Force seriously injured in Virginia racing event

Drag racer John Force seriously injured in Virginia racing event

**Drag Racer John Force Seriously Injured in Virginia Racing Event**

Legendary drag racer John Force, a 16-time National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Funny Car champion, was seriously injured during a racing event at the Virginia Nationals held at Virginia Motorsports Park in Dinwiddie County. The incident occurred on Sunday, June 24, during the first round of eliminations.

Force, 75, was driving his Funny Car—a specific class of car in drag racing—when he defeated Terry Haddock in 4.10 seconds at a speed of 302.62 mph. However, as he crossed the finish line, the engine of his car exploded, causing the vehicle to catch fire. The car then crossed the centerline, striking both guard walls before coming to a stop.

Despite the severity of the crash, Force was alert and talking to safety workers immediately after the incident. He was examined on-site by the NHRA medical team before being transferred by medical helicopter to a local medical center for further evaluation. His team later posted that he was being evaluated in intensive care.

The crash was captured on video and posted by Drag Illustrated, showing the dramatic moment when Force’s car exploded and careened across the track. The incident has raised concerns about the safety measures in place for high-speed drag racing events.

Force’s teammate, Austin Prock, went on to win the Funny Car division later that day, defeating Bob Tasca III in the final round. Prock dedicated his victory to Force, stating from the winners’ circle, “The trophy is going straight to the hospital to John Force. It’s just tough to see somebody go through that, especially when it’s somebody you really care about, but I know he’ll be back. We’re race car drivers and we have to flip the switch. I know John wanted us to be out here, going rounds and I’m glad we did our job.”

This is not the first time Force has been involved in a serious crash. In 2007, he was sidelined for months after a crash at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas. Despite these setbacks, Force has continued to be a dominant force in the world of drag racing. Just three weeks ago, he won his record 157th NHRA race in New Hampshire, placing him in second place behind Prock in the driver’s championship.

Born in Bell Gardens, California, and currently residing in Yorba Linda, California, Force has had a storied career in drag racing. His achievements have made him a legend in the sport, and his resilience has earned him the respect and admiration of fans and fellow racers alike.

The Virginia Motorsports Park, where the incident occurred, is a quarter-mile drag strip that opened in 1994 and has a seating capacity of 23,000 spectators. The track has hosted numerous high-profile racing events over the years, but the crash involving Force has cast a shadow over this year’s Virginia Nationals.

Tony Stewart, a former NASCAR star who now races in NHRA’s Top Fuel class, expressed his support for Force on social media, stating, “We’re keeping our pal John Force in our thoughts and prayers. He’s one tough cookie.”

The racing community has rallied around Force, with many expressing their hopes for his speedy recovery. The incident has also sparked discussions about the inherent risks of drag racing and the importance of safety measures to protect drivers.

As Force remains in intensive care, his fans and fellow racers are anxiously awaiting updates on his condition. His resilience and determination have been a hallmark of his career, and many are hopeful that he will make a full recovery and return to the sport he loves.

In the meantime, the NHRA and Virginia Motorsports Park officials are likely to review the incident to determine if any additional safety measures can be implemented to prevent similar accidents in the future. The racing community will continue to support Force and his family during this challenging time, hoping for the best possible outcome.

Source: UPI, Associated Press, Drag Illustrated

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