Raging Bull: John Force Showing Improvement According To Team

auto jun 02 nhra new england nationals
John Force Showing Improvement According To TeamIcon Sportswire - Getty Images

NHRA champion John Force is continuing his recovery from injuries he suffered at the NHRA Virginia Nationals. The 16-time champion’s Funny Car suffered a blown engine near the end of the run then in a fireball shot across the track hitting on the left side into the outside wall before sliding to a stop.

The incident happened just after Force clocked a 302.62-mph elapsed time. The 75-year-old was able to extract himself from the wreckage and was alert and talking with safety workers shortly after but was transported to a local hospital.

Sunday the team issued a statement with the positive news that Force has started to show signs of improvement. According to the statement:


“Early in the treatment process of his Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), he failed to follow the series of commands to open his eyes, squeeze the hands of his care providers and move his extremities. Occasionally, he was able to respond with slight movements, but it wasn’t until he moved from trauma intensive care unit to neuro intensive care unit on Wednesday that he began to gain some momentum.”

The team said after five days under heavy sedation Force opened is eyes and began responding to commands and that “his wife and daughters were overcome with emotion when he murmured his name, ‘John Force,’ and later when prompted, gave a thumbs up.”

The biggest challenge the team said has been dealing with his “extreme agitation and confusion.”

Force has tried to bet up and has been restrained:

“His doctors have humorously described him as a raging bull. However, he recognized his daughters, wife, Laurie, and called them each by name. And spoke the words, “I love you.” This, along with continued daily progress has uplifted their spirits.”

The team said the NHRA legend still faces a long road to recovery and for now will remain in the neuro intensive care unit in Virginia.

“John’s family members extend their deepest gratitude to the medical professionals responsible for his well-being and recovery,” the statement said. “They deeply appreciate the overwhelming number of heartfelt messages, prayers, support, and concern from the entire automotive and racing industries. Thank you to sponsors, fans, and the media for respecting the privacy of the Force family and the John Force Racing team members.”