Reigning NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel champion Brittany Force’s title defense began on a sour note Sunday morning when her Monster Energy dragster crashed during her opening round matchup with Terry Haddock at the season-opening NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California. Force’s dragster, running in the right lane, lost traction and struck the opposing retaining wall before ricocheting back across the racetrack and hitting her own guardrail. The car ultimately slid to a stop in the shutdown area and after a few tense moments, the 31-year old was removed from the battered car by the NHRA Safety Safari.
Per an official statement from the NHRA, Force was awake and alert and was transported to a local medical facility for evaluation. Per the most recent update, Brittany suffered no head injuries of any kind but is undergoing observation for a sore shoulder.
Per the John Force Racing official statement: “Force suffered no major internal injuries but does have some bruising of the lungs. A CT Scan was negative and the MRI showed subtle findings likely from previous injuries. She was admitted overnight for observation simply as a precaution.
“You look at how these cars evolved over 40-50 years. We made a lot of changes after the loss of Eric (Medlen, former JFR driver who lost his life in a 2007 testing accident). A lot came out of that. Building better chassis, safer. Want to thank Simpson safety for building helmets, equipment and everything to keep our drivers safe. The car giving way when it hit the wall head on allowed it to take the impact and fold up (as it was designed to do),” John Force said. “I want to thank Schumacher Racing for creating the canopy (over the driver’s seat). When the car was upside down, you know that protects the drier’s head. Want to personally thank Don Schumacher for his investment (in the canopy program). Very important. Thanks, Don. Safety Safari was right on top of it, as always, that’s why they’re the best in the business. Finally, John Medlen, was one of the first to come to me, and want to know if she was okay. I didn’t have an answer at the time. But he’s lived it. He knows what all of us go through: owners, friends, parents and sponsors. End of the day, we keep addressing it to get it better.”