Force to sub for Force

John Force
John Force

In an exclusive interview with, 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force said he expects his daughter Courtney to be back racing in the Lucas Oil Nationals Aug. 18-21 at Brainerd, Minn.

And if Courtney can’t come back by then, the spot will be filled by her sister Ashley, John told

Courtney was injured Aug. 7 in a crash at Pacific Raceways in Seattle, when her John Force Racing Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car hit the left-hand retaining wall during a first-round matchup with Jeff Diehl.

After the crash, Courtney was taken to Valley Medical Center in Renton, Wash., where she was examined. She did not suffer any broken bones but said her right knee, shoulder and arm were all very sore.

“She’s still in rehab right now," John said of Courtney late Tuesday afternoon. “Shouldn’t be a problem — no broken bones."

After Courtney’s crash at Seattle, John still had to race but, like his daughter, he was also eliminated in the first round.

“A lot of people asked me, was it because Courtney right in front of me? Had nothing to do with it," John said of his Seattle race. “If anything, it got my adrenaline up. I talked to her in the ambulance. I knew she was OK. She was shook. She was beat up real good. Banged up her elbow ‘Is it broke, dad? Is my leg broke?’"

John said he told her, “‘Honey, we don’t know. They’ll take you to X-Ray.’ And her mother and her sister got in the car. Brittany (Force’s daughter who races Top Fuel) got in there with her. She got beat first round. And then I went back and raced and I got beat. And we went and stayed at the hospital until 10 o’clock Sunday night."

As far as the next race, John said Ashley is on standby if Courtney can’t go.

“Ashley got out of the driver’s seat because she wanted to have children," said John. “She’s ready to get back in this week if Courtney’s hurt. She’ll go right back in the car at Brainerd. I think Courtney’s going to be OK." Tom Jensen/NBC

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