|Courtney Force in Seattle before crashing|
NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series racer Courtney Force escaped serious injury after a racing incident in the first round of Sunday's eliminations at Pacific Raceways. Force's Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car made contact with the left guard wall. Force exited the vehicle on her own power and was checked by NHRA emergency services personnel before heading to Valley Medical Center in Renton, Wash., where she was evaluated for head, neck, knee, elbow and shoulder injuries.
"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," said Force.
Doctors released Force from the hospital this evening but expect her to be very sore tomorrow. X-rays of her right knee, left elbow and left shoulder along with a CT scan of her head and cervical spine were negative. The tendon on the knee was intact but there was a contusion from contact with the steering wheel. Force will see a sports orthopedist in Lake Tahoe, Nev., where the family has a summer home for continued evaluation and to make sure there is not a partial tendon tear in the knee.
"I have to thank everyone at Simpson Racing and their Stilo helmet for protecting me. To hit a concrete guard wall and move it two feet and not break any bones is a testament to their equipment and NHRA safety requirements," said Force.
"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," explained Force. "I definitely feel bad we ruined the body and the chassis. Luckily we have some time and can get the car fixed up and my own body fixed up. I am looking forward to getting back as fast as I can. I want to thank all the fans for all their support."
Force, the No. 3 qualifier, was racing Jeff Diehl in the first round when her Traxxas Funny Car smoked the tires. Force attempted to pedal her 10,000 hp race car before it made hard contact with the guard wall.
"I am really bummed out about the run. I am disappointed because I really wanted that win. I pedaled the car repeatedly hoping to just run him down but I got a little too aggressive. I think I hit the wall right where Ashley crashed a few years ago. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with this track since I have won here twice and have had two incidents but happy to be safe," joked Force.
Force will focus on her rehabilitation with the goal being to race at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota in two weeks.