Drag racing legend John Force injured after engine explodes during NHRA event

John Force

DINWIDDIE, Va. — Drag racing legend John Force was hospitalized on Sunday after his engine exploded at the finish line of an NHRA event in Virginia and his vehicle crashed into a wall.

According to a news release from the NHRA, Force, 75, was competing in the Funny Car division of the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park.

He defeated Terry Haddock in the first round of Funny Car eliminations with a run of 302.62 mph, but his Chevrolet Camaro burst into flames and crossed the centerline, slamming into both guard walls, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Force was able to exit the vehicle, according to the newspaper.

Force was alert and was examined at the site by the NHRA medical team before he was taken to an area hospital for further examination, the NHRA said in its statement.

Force, considered one of drag racing’s greatest competitors, has won 157 events and captured 16 championships during his NHRA career, the Times-Dispatch reported. His daughter, Brittany Force, competes in the Top Fuel division and raced after her father’s accident, according to the newspaper.

“It’s something that’s tough. To go out there and see what happened, it’s never easy, but know it’s part of the drill. It’s how this sport goes,” Brittany Force told FS1. “My dad is going to be OK. I was in the ambulance with him holding his hand and he’s one of the toughest people I know. So, he’ll bounce back like he always does. And I wouldn’t be his daughter if I wasn’t back up here in that car trying to win this thing for this team with him.”

Brittany Force reached the second round of the Top Fuel division before losing to Tony Stewart, the Times-Dispatch reported.

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