Sunday, September 23, 2007

Godspeed To John Force

Fourteen-time NHRA Funny Car World champion John Force was seriously injured in a crash Sunday in the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex. Force crashed along with fellow Funny Car veteran Kenny Bernstein in the second round of eliminations, after his Castrol Ford Mustang cut a tire and veered into Bernstein's lane. Force's car broke into two pieces and made heavy contact with the retaining wall, and Force was airlifted to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas with a reported compound facture of his left ankle, deep cuts to his right leg and knee, a severely dislocated left wrist, and multiple broken fingers and hand abrasions.

Bernstein was shaken, but uninjured.

NHRA's attending physician, Dr. Dwight Shewchuk, administered emergency care on the scene, and described Force's injuries. "John has very serious injuries to his hands, his legs, and his feet that will require extensive treatment," he said. "Nothing appears life-threatening at this time, but he certainly has significant injuries."

The 58-year old Force was alert and conscious -- though reportedly in severe pain --as NHRA Safety Safari officials worked to extricate him from the twisted remains of his racecar. The crash is the latest blow in what has been a season of tragedy for John Force Racing, after driver Eric Medlen was killed in a testing incident in Gainesville, Fla., earlier this season.

Ashley Force withdrew her Funny Car after the crash.

To view ESPN's footage of the crash, click HERE.

UPDATE: John Force underwent surgery at approximately 9 p.m. CT, as doctors inserted three pins into Force's ankle, and three more to stabilize his wrist. He reportedly came through the surgery well, and an additional update is expected midmorning Monday.

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