Funny Car driver John Force looks to get back on...

Funny Car driver John Force looks to get back on track for the last day of qualifying at the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park, May 21, 2016, in Topeka Kansas. Force raced to his record 157th NHRA victory on Sunday, June 2, 2024, at age 75, beating teammate Austin Prock in the Funny Car final at the NHRA New England Nationals. Credit: AP/Chris Neal

DINWIDDIE, Va. — NHRA great John Force was alert and talking to safety workers immediately after a fiery, 300-mph crash Sunday in the Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park.

John Force Racing said the 75-year-old Force was examined at the track by the NHRA Medical Team before being transported by medical helicopter to a facility for further evaluation.

During the first round of Funny Car eliminations, the engine exploded Force's car at the finish line, with the vehicle going across the centerline and striking the left concrete guard wall, then careening back across into the right wall.

Three weeks ago in New Hampshire, Force raced to his record 157th NHRA victory and second of the season. In 2007 at age 58, Force was seriously injured in a racing crash in Ennis, Texas.

“We’re keeping our pal John Force in our thought and prayers. He’s one tough cookie,” said Tony Stewart, the former NASCAR star who now races in NHRA’s Top Fuel class.

On Sunday, long after Force's accident, teammate Austin Prock won the Funny Car division, topping Bob Tasca III in the final round.

“(The trophy) is going straight to the hospital to John Force,” Prock said from the winners’ circle.

“It’s just tough to see somebody go through that, especially when it’s somebody you really care about, but I know he’ll be back. We’re race car drivers and we have to flip the switch. I know John wanted us to be out here, going rounds and I’m glad we did our job.”

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