John Force is thankful for the changes to his NHRA Funny Car dragster that protected his head and neck in a spectacular crash last week at the Texas Motorplex.
But the 14-time champion is determined to promote the development of a protective tub that might help eliminate leg and foot injuries like those he received in the crash.
Force, drag racing’s most prolific winner with 125 NHRA victories, suffered a compound fracture of the left ankle, broken toes and a broken bone in his right foot, broken and mangled fingers on his right hand and a dislocated left wrist when his Ford Mustang had a tire failure at 300 mph.
He underwent six hours of surgery to repair the injuries.
“I had no head injuries, no neck injuries, no back injuries, no bleeding, not even a Band-Aid on anything but my hands and feet,” Force said, crediting changes to the cockpit that followed the tragic death of teammate Eric Medlen in a testing accident last March at Gainesville, Fla.
“The next issue is to put the driver in an IndyCar-type monocoque that protects his legs.”
The 58-year-old Force, expected to make a full recovery, said he’s putting an emphasis on finding more answers.
“You know, we did start on a tub three, four months ago when Eric crashed,” Force said.
“But we got so busy dealing with cockpit issues – extra padding, the seven-point belt, new head-and-neck restraints – that there just wasn’t time (to complete the project) and that’s why I’m here.”