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NHRA legend John Force hospitalized after engine exploded during race

The 75-year-old driver overtook Terry Haddock in the first round just before the accident.

John Force en Las Vegas Motor Speedway en 2024

(Wikimedia Commons- TauroEsmeralda)

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This Sunday, National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) legend John Force suffered an accident during a drag race at Virginia Motorsports Park and was rushed to the hospital.

The accident occurred during the first round of the Funny Car eliminations at the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals. Force was driving his Funny Car around the track when the engine exploded near the finish line. The explosion propelled Force's vehicle across the track and into the guard wall, where it bounced, crossed the track again, and finally crashed into the other guard wall.

The winner of 16 NHRA championships and 22 titles as a racing team owner managed to get out of the car and was immediately put in an ambulance and taken to a hospital.

The 75-year-old Force beat Terry Haddock in the first round. Fortunately, Haddock had already slowed down by the time Force crossed the center line preventing any further collision between the two vehicles.

NHRA statement

Following the accident, the NHRA issued an official statement and reported that "Force was alert and was examined onsite by the NHRA Medical Team before being transported to a local medical facility for further evaluation."

Reactions and support

Force's accident generated an outpouring of support and prayers from racing fans across social media. Many followers and people close to Force expressed their concern and good wishes for the veteran pilot's speedy recovery.

“It’s just tough to see somebody go through that. I hope he’s all right. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers. I know he’ll be back,” said Force teammate Austin Prock.

“My dad’s going to be all right. 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,” Force's daughter, Brittany Force, also said.