NHRA Champ John Force Hospitalized After Car Explosion During Virginia Nationals

National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) legend John Force was hospitalized on Sunday after his car erupted in flames during the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park. The incident occurred during the first round of eliminations when Force’s Peak Team funny car exploded into a fiery blaze as he crossed the finish line.

Force, 75, was racing against driver Terry Haddock when his engine violently exploded, propelling his car into a series of collisions with both guard walls. Despite reaching a speed of 302.62 mph, the explosion transformed Force’s car into a dangerous fireball that bounced erratically across the track.

A video capturing the dramatic moment shows the car engulfed in flames, but Force managed to exit the vehicle on his own. He was seen alert and conversing with rescue workers before being transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.

“During the first round of Funny Car eliminations at the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals on Sunday at Virginia Motorsports Park, John Force’s Funny Car suffered an engine explosion at the finish line and then crossed the centerline, striking both guard walls before coming to a stop,” the NHRA stated, according to Fox News. “Force was alert and was examined onsite by the NHRA Medical Team before being transported to a local medical facility for further evaluation.”

John Force is a prominent figure in drag racing, boasting 16 NHRA championship titles and owning a 22-time racing team. His remarkable career includes ten consecutive championships from 1993 to 2002, solidifying his status as a racing icon.

Force’s daughter, Brittany Force, who is a two-time Top Fuel champion, assured fans of her father’s resilience. “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,” she said.

Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier Shawn Langdon expressed the racing community’s concern, stating, “We love what we do, but we’re all thinking about John at this point.”

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the inherent risks involved in the sport of drag racing, even for seasoned veterans like John Force. As fans and fellow racers await updates, the focus remains on the recovery of one of NHRA’s most celebrated champions.