Not a Full Force Weekend

Brittany Force NHRA
Photo: Anne Proffit

It wasn’t a great weekend to be a John Force Racing driver in the opening round of NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. In Friday qualifying on the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona dragstrip, team patriarch John Force had a big crash in the left lane, driving his Chevrolet Camaro SS and had to go hospital for concussion protocol.

He was cleared and released, returning to his pits by 7PM in fine condition. John Force eventually qualified tenth, while son-in-law and reigning champion Robert Hight turned the second-best time and daughter Courtney qualified fourth. In Top Fuel, current champion Brittany Force qualified second in a sparse 14-car field.

In a long and drawn-out first round of eliminations that required almost two hours for nitro competition, Brittany Force’s weekend came to a terrifying close when the car got away from her just before the finish line, contacted the right side retaining wall and was caught up in a massive fiery ball. NHRA said Ms Force was responsive to NHRA’s Safety Safari, was helped to an ambulance and taken to hospital for evaluation.

By the time the first round was complete, only Hight from the four-car John Force Racing team was still in the competition, his Chevy Camaro SS having easily bested Jeff Diehl’s Toyota Camry. John Force couldn’t overcome J.R. Todd’s quicker Camry and Courtney Force fell to Jonnie Lindberg’s Toyota.

High survived his second round race against Todd and went to the semifinals. Team sources said tests are underway for Brittany Force and was still in hospital at 2:30PM PT on Sunday, stating she had no head injuries but a sore left shoulder after smacking that wall.


About Anne Proffit 683 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

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