NHRA legend John Force involved in fiery crash as engine explodes during race

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NHRA legend John Force involved in fiery crash as engine explodes during race

National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) legend John Force was involved in a horrific incident at a drag race in Virginia on Sunday.

Force was in his Funny Car riding down the track, like he had done thousands of times before, when his engine exploded, causing him to veer across the centerline and into the wall. His vehicle crossed back over the line and hit the guard wall again.

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John Force smokes the tires of a JFR 500 Peak Chevy ’22 Camaro SS during the NHRA New England Nationals on June 1, 2024, in Epping, New Hampshire. (Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The NHRA put out a statement on the incident

“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 organization said.

“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 in Las Vegas

NHRA legend John Force speaks with members of the media before the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube NASCAR Cup Series race on March 3, 2024, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Jeff Speer/LVMS/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Race fans offered prayers for Force across social media.

Force, 75, is a 16-time NHRA champion and a 22-time champion as a racing team owner. He won 10 straight titles as a driver from 1993 to 2002.

Force won the 156th race of his career in April.

“I’m just facing the truth in life, that, you know, time’s running out, and I’m trying to hang on,” Force said of his career at the time. “This morning, I was talking about, ‘You know, maybe this is it, maybe I should just walk out the gate and go to the casino.’

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John Force in Tennessee

John Force during third-round eliminations at the Thunder Valley Nationals on June 9, 2024, at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee. (David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“And then all of sudden you win and your weight and your personality just changes. Things went right, and I got the win, so I’m excited.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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