NHRA legend John Force moved to neurological intensive care after fiery crash

EPPING, NH - JUNE 02: John Force, of Yorba Linda, CA, before the NHRA New England Nationals on June 2, 2024, at New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
John Force has 16 NHRA Funny Car titles and 157 race wins. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

NHRA Funny Car legend John Force has been transitioned into a neurological intensive care unit following his fiery crash at the Virginia Nationals on Sunday.

Force’s engine exploded at the end of his first-round race and his car subsequently slammed into two different outside retaining walls before coming to a rest. Force was helped from his car after the crash by NHRA safety crew members, and the team said Sunday night that the 75-year-old was conscious and communicating with those safety workers after the crash.

John Force Racing said in a statement Thursday that Force had previously been in a trauma intensive care unit and that his head injury is the “primary concern” of doctors. The team has not provided any other specifics about Force’s injuries but said in the statement that Force faces a “long road ahead.”

“The Force family [is] grateful for the team of medical professionals who are caring for John, and for the overwhelming number of heartfelt messages of prayer, support and concern,” JFR said in a statement. “Thank you for continuing to respect the privacy of the family and John Force Racing team members.”

Force’s daughter Brittany competes in the Top Fuel division for her father’s team. She will not compete at this weekend’s event in Norwalk, Ohio, and instead remain at the hospital with her father. The team's other Funny Car driver, Austin Prock, will race in Ohio. Prock is the Funny Car points leader ahead of John Force in second.

Force is the winningest driver in NHRA history. He has 157 race wins and has won 16 Funny Car titles. Force was the most dominant driver in American motorsports in the 1990s with 13 championships from 1990 to 2004.