John Force Crash - Muscular Mustangs
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post #1 of 7 Old 09-24-2007, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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John Force Crash

We just wanted to wish John Force a speedy recovery. For those who don't know John was involved in a horrific accident yesterday while racing his Mustang funny car at the 22nd Annual O’Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas.

From the looks of it John's opponent Kenny Bernstein hit one of the timing boxes at the far end of the track which was thrown across the track hitting John's rear tires. At that point at least one rear tire blew causing the body and chassis to suffer serious damage. It seems as though John then hit the parachutes which resulted in the entire rear end of the car being torn from the front. The front of the chassis ran across the track hitting Bernstein's car and then slid the rest of the way down the track while the portion that John was still in stopped near the finish line.

John suffered a broken ankle, dislocated and broken wrist, severe abrasions of his leg and a broken fingers. Doctors believe he will make a full recovery though he won't be back to racing this season.

EDIT: Good news from Baylor University Medical Center, where doctors operating on 14-time NHRA Funny Car world champ John Force were able to set his broken left ankle and determined that his wrist was not broken but just severely dislocated. According to team spokesperson Elon Werner, doctors inserted three pins into Force's ankle to set it and inserted three temporary pins to stabilize his wrist.

“We don't really know what went wrong,” Force said Monday after viewing video of the crash for the first time. “I don't remember much. I remember thinking that I had to cut a light to beat (rival) Kenny Bernstein. The next thing I remember is them trying to get me out of the car.

“I was worried about Bernstein,” Force said, “because I knew he was in the other lane. I didn't want to hurt anybody, especially Kenny. He's a good friend and a great competitor – and he did nothing wrong. In fact, he did a great driving job."

“I'm just lucky to have my legs. I gnawed off some fingers and toes, but they had me up trying to stand today. They're great people here at Baylor and I know they'll get me up and around as soon as they can."

“The car pulled in half and I've never seen that, ever. A tire came off the car just as I put the parachutes out and it literally pulled the car apart. I just feel so helpless and vulnerable. I've been on fire from here to Australia. I've had some burns, but I've gotten out of every crash and never had a scratch. I've never had a broken bone (before) so this is all new to me."


Best wishes from MuscularMustangs.com

Below is a video of the accident
http://youtube.com/watch?v=xrbFyH4vFWE
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post #2 of 7 Old 09-24-2007, 07:49 PM
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Yeah. That was nasty. Glad he's gonna be ok.

'87 GT with a battery
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post #3 of 7 Old 09-24-2007, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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John Force Crash Pictures

Came across these screen captures from ESPN. If anyone comes across any more pictures of the accident please post them.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg johnforcecrash02.jpg (16.8 KB, 1377 views)
File Type: jpg johnforcecrash01.jpg (18.2 KB, 1421 views)
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post #4 of 7 Old 09-24-2007, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Drag racers offer best wishes after Force/Bernstein Crash

Found this on NHRA.com

Peers offer thoughts, well-wishes to injured Force

Mike Ashley: My prayers go out to the entire Force family. I know John will make a full recovery because that is John Force. It's John's heart and indomitable spirit that ultimately will pull John through this time faster than most could heal. John Force is more than just a drag racer. John is a role model for our entire community. We may be on different teams, but we are all one family out here, and we all love John and wish him an all-out, Force-style recovery!

Del Worsham: "We're just thinking about John and his family. You know, I've known John for a long time, and we've always gotten along well. Obviously, I was really young when I started racing against him, and he mostly just called me 'Kid' or even 'Opie' for a lot of years, but he's always treated me with a lot of respect, and I count him as one of my friends out here. This deal looks like it's going to set him back for a while, but I fully expect to see John back out here as soon as he can do it. We're pulling for him.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing as we came back up the return road. We saw the two cars get together, and they both hit the wall hard, and then we saw them skid down the track toward the sand. More than anything, I wanted to get over there to help him, but a very serious security guard wouldn't let me. I'm a driver, with clearance to go anywhere on this track, but she was just doing her job I guess, and she wanted no part of me running over there and hopping the wall. I told her 'That's my friend, I want to help him,' but she didn't want any of that. It was frustrating to not be able to get over there, and I'm very concerned for John and how he's doing, but I'm also very relieved that he's still with us, because that was a horrendous crash."

Jeff Arend: "All of us are thinking about John, and frankly we're all talking about the fact he's hurt badly but still with us. It was a nasty crash, and he's got a lot of work to do to get back out here, whenever that's possible, but you don't win as many races and championships as he has without having the ultimate amount of dedication. We're all with you and your whole family, John."

Tim Wilkerson:
"It's sure a terrible thing that happened to John. We really need to investigate how to keep our cars safer. I watched what happened, and it's not good. Our prayers are with John, his family, and team."

Tony Pedregon: "I have to admit it really shook me up. It took me back to when I was a kid and my dad told me about these wrecks where cars got cut in half. I ran over there to try and help, and there was no cockpit. It really scared me. I just wanted to hear that he was okay. Broken bones will mend. I wanted to hear he was talking, and if he was swearing, even better. From what it looked like, he's very lucky."

Larry Dixon: "I'm glad that he's alive. From that point, you can fix anything. A lot of credit goes to the Safety Safari, the medical team, and the rules package for the way the cars have to be built so that you can survive an accident like that. I feel safer in my car that goes 330 mph than I do in my rental car going 55 mph on the way to the track. I feel like I could run over a nuclear bomb, and I trust in that. He'll be back racing one day; you can count on that."

NHRA.com's Phil Burgess: "And right now, he's probably really, really pissed. Not that something happened to his race car, but that he's going to be on the sidelines for a bit. After all he's been through this season – stressing as Ashley got her feet wet and, yes, struggled at times, losing Eric, having a less-than-competitive race car, and twice battling his way back into Countdown fields -– this is no way for it to end. And it won't. You can bend him, but you can't break him."
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post #5 of 7 Old 09-24-2007, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Kenny Bernstein speaks out about crash with John Force

Here's a transcript of Kenny Bernstein's statement after the crash.

"I'll take you through the run the best I can. It was a good leave. The car was running fine through there. It got towards the centerline; about halfway down it started moving over. I kept turning and correcting as hard as I could, and it just kept sticking over there right next to that centerline. Right at the finish line I said, 'Man I think this thing's gonna catch the cone,' and I guess I did with the rear tire. I just couldn't get it to come back.

"At the finish line I basically lifted the throttle and hit the parachutes at the same time; that's my procedure there. As soon as I hit the parachutes, out of the corner of my eye I saw John's black car coming towards me. It was coming over, and it just hit me. We were wadded up together for a second or so there and I all I could see was nothing because there were bodies coming apart and coming up in front of you and taking your eyesight away.

"I remember seeing my body up there and driving through it and then his body. When I came out of that I saw John's car going towards the wall and it hit the wall really, really hard.

"I was a little out of control at that time. It was kind of teeter-tottering on turning over or not turning over. I was just trying to steer it and go as straight as I possibly could. Then it finally settled down and stayed on all fours. Right when I got ready to stop I saw something again out of the corner of my eye and it was the chassis and the engine, the front half of the car, passing me on the right side. I was trying to figure out what I was seeing. I let my car roll to get up there to see if I could help him but he wasn't even there. When I got out I saw all the commotion back up the track and I realized that piece that went by was just the front half of the car.

"I guarantee you something happened. John Force isn't gonna run over anybody unless something causes it. Something takes place that causes a driver to do what he does. Something had to happen. Even though I had my hands full right against that centerline as a driver you know you can't go across that and you're gonna do whatever you can to keep from it. So I certainly think something happened to his race car.

"At that part of the racetrack you're under control down there in the sense of the word. All the stuff's over with other than the fact you're getting to the finish line. You're going pretty straight at that point in time so I would say something happened to that race car. To come across and collect me, it definitely had to have something happen.

"I don't think I did [cross into Force's lane]. I sure don't feel like I did. I never have felt that way. I have to look at the film. I know I was close to the center, but I don't think I ever went across it with the entire car. Jimmy Walsh [crew chief] went down there and looked at the tracks and the rear tire hit the last cone. But I was totally under control when I reached up to pull the parachutes. I just thought I'd given the race away.

"I actually saw him coming my way. I saw the front of his car pointed towards me. I actually saw that. Now I'm not talking 90 degrees, but certainly a 45. For him to come across to where you can see it, he's got to be pretty far across on you. Otherwise you would never see him.

"I got a ride way back down the course and when he was on the stretcher he was saying, 'Did I hit anybody?' They were telling him 'It's okay, John,' and I went up and said 'John, it's Bernstein, I'm okay.' He was a little delirious because he kept asking if he hit me so I don't know how much he'll remember.

"On my side, physically I'm fine. I did have a little bit of a headache right when I stopped, and that's from my head going back and forth in the roll cage. Because of John's work in that area, putting those extra pads up in there, it's not as bad and I'm thankful for that. If it had been the old pads, I'd a had a lot worse headache. It was pretty violent when we got together."
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John Force Crash Recovery Updates

FORCE WON’T RACE AT RICHMOND, BUT VOWS TO BE THERE FOR THE TEAM

DALLAS, Texas – Five days after the spectacular crash that landed him in Baylor University Medical Center, John Force again credited fallen teammate Eric Medlen with saving him from more serious injuries.

Force’s crash last Sunday at the Texas Motorplex was eerily similar to the one in which Medlen suffered fatal head injuries in a testing accident last March at Gainesville, Fla. In both instances, for whatever reason, a tire failed, setting up a chain reaction that culminated in a chassis failure.

In last Sunday’s incident, which occurred in the second round of the 22nd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Fall Nationals, Force’s Ford Mustang broke in two with the front half veering across the center line where it collided with the Dodge of Kenny Bernstein. The other half of the car, with Force still strapped inside, his legs exposed, came to a stop against the left guardwall.

“The work we’ve already done through The Eric Medlen Project saved my head,” Force said. “I’m all broken up in my arms and legs, but my head’s fine, my back and neck are fine. That was what really excited John Medlen (who heads up the John Force Racing, Inc., safety initiative begun after his son’s death).”

Nevertheless, with his family around him, including oldest daughter Adria Hight, who flew in Thursday night with his youngest daughters, Brittany, 21, and Courtney, 19, Force acknowledged Friday that the rehabilitation process is going to be long and arduous.

To underscore that reality, doctors concerned with swelling in his right foot Friday ordered additional X-rays that may identify yet another break.

The bigger right leg problem for the 58-year-old drag racing icon is the deep laceration to the right knee, a knee weakened by childhood polio and injured 18 years ago in a fall. Unfortunately, that’s the foot with which the 14-time series champion mashes the gas pedal on the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang.

Beginning to recover from the effects of anesthesia and pain medication, the 125-time tour winner acknowledged for the first time Friday that he won’t be able to drive next week in the TORCO Racing Fuels Nationals at Richmond, VA.

He is withholding judgement on his status for the last two races of the season until he consults next week with Dr. Terry Trammell, a noted orthopedic surgeon who specializes in motor racing injuries. It was Trammell who repaired three-time former NHRA champion Shirley Muldowney’s badly mangled legs and got her back into a Top Fuel dragster following her accident at Montreal in 1984. She returned to the winners’ circle at Phoenix in 1989.

“I couldn’t have wound up in a better place than Baylor,” Force said. “The doctors and nurses have been great to me and my family and I’ll always be grateful for that, but I’m a race car driver and I need to talk to someone that understands racing. That’s why we’re going to Indy.”

As originally diagnosed, Force’s injuries included a compound fracture of the left ankle, broken and mangled fingers on his right hand, a deep laceration in his right knee and a severely dislocated left wrist.

“As soon as they release me, my game plan is to go to Indy to get updates from all my crew chiefs – Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly, Jimmy Prock, Dean Antonelli and John Medlen – on the changes we’ve made to our race cars,” Force said.

“After that, I’m going to meet with the doctors (Dr. Trammell has offices in Indianapolis) and see about getting me back in my race car.

“I want to thank all the fans,” Force said. “I know a lot of them wanted to come by (the hospital) to see me, but right now I just need to focus on getting my strength back. I’ll be in Richmond, but I just won’t be racing.

“I want to wish everyone good luck in the Countdown. I’ll be rooting for Robert Hight, my son-in-law, but I want everyone just to be safe. I’ve seen all the footage (from the crash) and I don’t want anyone else to go through this. I’m really proud of John Medlen and what he and his team are doing to make these cars better. We’ve done some good work protecting the head. Now we need to focus on protecting the arms and legs.”
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