DALLAS – Drag-racing star John Force’s prognosis was “very good” Monday after six hours of surgery following a wreck Sunday at the O’Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex.
Force has a compound fracture of his left ankle, a lacerated right knee, a dislocated left wrist and abrasions on two fingers on his right hand. He had screws inserted into his ankle and temporary pins placed in his wrist, said David Densmore, publicist for John Force Racing.
Densmore said Force will miss the rest of the NHRA season, which has three scheduled dates remaining in Richmond, Va., Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif. Force is fourth in the Funny Car standings.
“He’s doing fine,” Densmore said. “He had six hours of surgery yesterday evening and came through it very well. Surgeons did all the repairs in one session and the prognosis is very good.”
Force, a 14-time champion, wrecked Sunday while racing Funny Car rival Kenny Bernstein. A video of the accident shows Bernstein’s car drifting toward Force’s lane and striking a foam timing block, which shot into the back of Force’s car. Force swerved across Bernstein’s lane into the retaining wall. Bernstein then rammed into Force’s car, breaking the chassis in two.
The NHRA is investigating the accident, NHRA spokesman Anthony Vestal said. Several laboratories will examine parts of the tires and broken chassis.
Force, 58, was airlifted to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, where he underwent surgery. He was alert and conscious following the accident and a CT scan came back negative for internal injuries, team spokesman Elon Werner said.
Daughter Ashley Force, also a Funny Car driver, pulled out of the semifinals. John Force, who won his race with Bernstein, could have met her in the finals for the first time had both won, Densmore said.
“I am sure that he will be somewhat depressed when he realizes his circumstances,” Densmore said. “He had just driven his way into contention for another championship.”
Force’s wife, Laurie; Ashley; and son-in-law Robert Hight – also a Funny Car driver – were with him at the hospital.
Force and his four daughters are the subjects of a reality TV show on A&E called “Driving Force.” Three of his daughters are drivers and one is an executive in John Force Racing.
Force has suffered at least one other serious accident in more than three decades of racing, Densmore said. A 1992 accident in Memphis, Tenn., left Force with second-degree burns on his face and hands.