ENNIS, Texas - Drag-racing star John Force returned Monday to the site of the worst crash of his career nearly a year ago.
Force, 59, arrived at the Texas Motorplex in an Air-Evac Lifeteam helicopter manned by the same crew that took him to the hospital on Sept. 23, 2007.
"This was very emotional for me," Force said. "But I'm glad I did it."
Track owner Billy Meyer was there to welcome Force, who pointed out how the track has added a guard wall and tripled the size of the sand trap.
He told the Air-Evac crew that aided him: "I could have bled to death. That's what they were worried about, but they got me to Baylor and then the doctors there took such good care of me, putting me back together. I can never repay any of them for what they did."
Force had been driving his Ford Mustang at 300 mph on Sept. 23, 2007, when it split apart, leaving him with a compound fracture of the left ankle, broken bones in his hands, fingers and toes and ligament and tendon damage in his right knee.
The 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion will be one of the Funny Car contenders in this week's NHRA Fall Nationals, the second race in the NHRA's Countdown to the Championship playoff series.
Three of Force's four daughters will share the track with him this week. Ashley Force, 25, will compete with and against her dad in the Funny Car division while Brittany, 22, and Courtney, 20, will drive in the Top Alcohol Dragster division.