The reigning National Hot Rod Association champion was rushed to hospital after suffering a huge crash on Sunday.
Brittany Force, the reigning NHRA champion, crashed her dragster in the first round of Sunday's eliminations at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals held at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. After a good start off the line, Force’s Monster Energy car went wildly out of control, careening over the center median before slamming into the opposite guard wall.
Force’s car then rebounded and slammed into the other guard wall before sliding unceremoniously past the finish line.
Her opponent, Terry Haddock, was fortunate to have had a bad start, smoking his tires off the line in a mistake that would have given Force the win had she not crashed. This meant that Haddock was nowhere near Force when her car spun out of control and prevented a larger accident.
Force was thankfully responsive when medical teams rushed to her crumpled car, and talked to responders as they helped her into an ambulance to be taken to a local hospital for evaluation. A CT scan revealed no injuries and an MRI only picked up indications of previous injuries.
As a precautionary measure Force stayed overnight for observation.
John Force, Brittany’s father and owner of John Force Racing, made a lengthy statement about how grateful he was for his daughter to be OK, and how thankful he was to first responders and the car’s engineers for keeping his daughter safe.
“I want to thank Schumacher Racing for creating the canopy [over the driver’s seat]. When the car was upside down, you know that protects the driver’s head. Want to personally thank Don Schumacher for his investment [in the canopy program]. Very important. Thanks, Don,” said Force. “Safety Safari was right on top of it, as always, that’s why they’re the best in the business. Finally, John Medlen, was one of the first to come to me, and want to know if she was okay. I didn’t have an answer at the time. But he’s lived it. He knows what all of us go through: owners, friends, parents and sponsors. End of the day, we keep addressing it to get it better.”
“You look at how these cars evolved over 40-50 years. We made a lot of changes after the loss of Eric [Medlen, former JFR driver who lost his life in a 2007 testing accident]. A lot came out of that,” Force added. “Building better chassis, safer. Want to thank Simpson safety for building helmets, equipment and everything to keep our drivers safe. The car giving way when it hit the wall head on allowed it to take the impact and fold up [as it was designed to do].”