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Drag race legend John Force airlifted to hospital after car explodes during PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals

Drag racing legend John Force was rushed to the ICU after his car suffered a “catastrophic engine failure” and exploded at the finish line of an elimination race.

Force, 75, was competing in the first round of Funny Car eliminations at the Play NHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park on Sunday when his car exploded and crashed into a “concrete barrier” at 302 mph, according to John Force Racing. statement On Monday X.

The Hall of Fame drag racer’s team said the accident occurred as the Force was crossing the finish line and was caused by “catastrophic engine failure.”

John Force was competing in the first round of Funny Car qualifying for the Play NHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park on Sunday when his car exploded. Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Coverage of the race shows Force’s blue Chevrolet Camaro SS exploding after crossing the finish line at the quarter-mile drag strip.

His car then violently erupted into a fireball, crossed the centerline of the strip and crashed into the drag strip’s concrete guard wall.

The Force vehicle then crossed the tracks, crashed into a wall on the opposite side and came to a stop in flames.

“NHRA Safety Safari personnel rescued the 16-time champion and stabilized him before transporting him via medical helicopter to a trauma hospital, where he remained under observation and evaluation Monday,” his team said.

Doctors treating the Southern California native are “slowly assessing the extent” of his injuries due to the “severity of the impact” from the accident.

“Medical staff will not provide a timeline for treatment and recovery until a comprehensive evaluation has been completed.”

His daughter, two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Brittany Force, who also competed in Sunday’s race, remains by his side in the hospital, the team said in a statement.

The Force team is expected to provide an update on the 157-time Tour winner’s condition in the coming days.

The Hall of Fame drag racer’s team said the accident occurred as the Force was crossing the finish line and was caused by “catastrophic engine failure.” FS1
His car then violently erupted into a fireball, crossed the centerline of the strip and crashed into the drag strip’s concrete guard wall. FS1

“It was horrifying to see one of my childhood heroes suffer something like that,” said Tyler Crossnoe, vice president of Virginia Motorsports Park. WTVR After the crash.

“It was such a joy to see him get out of the car under his own power.”

Officials at Virginia Motorsports Park are investigating the cause of the potentially fatal accident.

Force teammate Austin Prock won the Funny Car division on Sunday, beating Bob Tasca III in the final round. NHRA.

The Force team is expected to provide an update on the 157-time Tour winner’s condition in the coming days. Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Force has been a mainstay on the NHRA circuit since its debut in 1978.

He has since won 157 titles and 16 season championships.

Force was seriously injured in a separate accident in Ennis, Texas, in 2007.

Force is currently ranked second in the 2024 NHRA Funny Car standings after finishing nine of the 21 events this season.

The drag racing legend captured his record-tying 157th victory just three weeks ago at an NHRA race in New Hampshire.

He is seeking his 17th NHRA Funny Car championship after winning the first eight races in the series.

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