For the second time in two weeks a NHRA Funny Car driver has been sent to the hospital after slapping the wall. This time it was Courtney Force and her Traxxas Camaro making contact.
Sitting in second place in the Mello Yello NHRA Funny Car points standings, Courtney Force climbed into her Traxxas Camaro with hopes of closing the gap on Ron Capps for the top spot heading into the countdown to the NHRA championship. In an instant it has all changed, and for the second time in two weeks we have a driver sent to the hospital with an injury.
In the first round eliminations at the Northwest Nationals, Courtney Force lost traction off the line and tried to peddle it. Her funny car started the gather but lurched to the left and slapped the wall before coasting to a stop. She was able to climb out of the car under her own power, but was complaining about leg pain and medical staff at the track sent her to a local hospital for further evaluation.
Force was released from Valley Medical Center on Sunday evening after a X-ray’s and a CT scan with no broken bones or head injuries. She is scheduled to see a sports orthopedic in Lake Tahoe for continued evaluation. Courtney released a statement through her team spokesperson.
I am beat up pretty good. My arm, my shoulder, and my right knee are banged up. I am really thankful that the second I got out of the race car there was already a Safety Safari person right there to help me get down. I couldn’t put any weight on my right knee. I want to say thanks to everyone that was at the track who helped me. I got right to the ER and the doctor checked me out. I am extremely relieved nothing is broken.
I am going to see a physical therapist in Tahoe. Thankfully we have a weekend off. My goal is to get healed up as soon as possible. I want to say sorry to my team to have to witness that. We were planning on making a lot of changes to my car after this race and my dad joked that I gave them a head start.
Last week in Sonoma Alexis De Joria, in a very similar incident, was able to climb from the car under own power only later to be diagnosed with a fractured hip. She is out of her Patron Kalitta funny car for an undetermined amount of time. It is a very tough break for Alexis as she is in the tenth and final spot heading to the countdown with only two races remaining.
Courtney Force’s father, the 16 time Funny Car champion John Force, has been through injuries in the car himself and was there to help with his drag racing daughter. Normally loud and flamboyant, Force gave a great update on Courtney to the Fox Sports team at the track.
With this being the second injury to drivers in consecutive weeks, the NHRA is going to be forced to evaluate its barriers at tracks. With new speed and ET record falling seemingly every week, it may be time for the NHRA to consider using something such as the safer barrier that NASCAR and IndyCar have implemented at most of its facilities. The last thing the NHRA needs as it is rebuilding its popularity is to have its stars getting hurt unnecessarily.
We will keep you updated on the condition of Courtney Force and Alexis De Joria as new details emerge. Keep up with us at beyondtheflag.com or our twitter account @beyondtheflag