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Nitro Shots: Up And Down For the Force Family

Two races in and John Force Racing has already both enjoyed good fortune and suffered the worst of racing luck as well. At the season-opener in Pomona, Top Fuel driver Brittany Force lost control or her dragster and made hard contact with the wall, destroying the car and sending Force to the hospital where she was held overnight for observation.

Ultimately, she was OK, suffering mostly from bruises, including bruised lungs, and returned to action this past weekend in Phoenix. Thankful, I’m sure, for a week off between races to give her extra recovery time. The car was less fortunate.

Her recovery is both mental and physical. This was Force’s first serious wreck, and her father, veteran racer John Force, knows all too well the feeling of having to get back in the car for the first time after an incident like this.

“I know the drill and I have been through it all. I have had all the nights laying there where you can’t sleep because the next day I have to race. I know how it all works because I have lived it,” said Force. “She doesn’t know that, so I know the gut ache of getting back in the car of qualifying was tough. The crash was tough, but it was not as tough as getting back in that race car. That is the hard part. Me, I know how to turn off the switch and do it. I know she struggled with it. What made me so proud was she did it. She got back in the car and did it.”

Brittany Force confirmed via Twitter that it was a bit of a mental battle, but once she got that first run behind her, she felt good, happy to be back on track. They’re racers. It’s what they do.

“We are PT Barnum at over 300 miles per hour,” John Force said. “Bottom line we are just race car drivers and we love it. That is what we do and we love to entertain you.”

For his part, John Force hasn’t had a picnic during these first two events either. In Pomona he suffered a massive engine explosion. In Phoenix, he suffered another – only this time it resulted in a serious wreck that destroyed not just Force’s car, but that of competitor Jonnie Lindberg as well.

While Force said he did not lose consciousness in Pomona, he did in Phoenix, which is why the car drifted across the track. He missed Lindberg on the initial crossing, but his car got caught up in Lindberg’s chutes, dragging the Head Racing entry along with Force and destroying both cars when they impacted the opposite wall.

“I got all tied up in his parachutes,” said Force. “We were going around in circles out there like we were dancing. We built that chassis for them. Jim Head asked if we could get it right back into the shop for them. We’ll do whatever it takes to help another racer. We are a big family out here. We’ll try and get their car in and get it fixed so they can be back in business.”

The upside for JFR is that in spite of John Force’s wreck, Courtney Force went on to win the event and father John was back at the track in time to congratulate her.

Project Green Monster:

What We Started With: Project Green Monster is a 1991 Chevrolet Camaro RS. It’s not totally stock. It came with a few upgrades already done. It has a 383 cubic inch stroker small block engine, TH-350 automatic transmission and a 3500 stall torque converter. It does have a stock rear end.

What We Are Working on Upgrading/Rebuilding: We’ve already invested in a new rear end for the car. It’s a Moser 12 bolt with 33 spline axles and a 4.10 gear ratio. It’s much sturdier than the stock equipment in the car and we anticipate being able to do everything we want to do without having a failure, something we couldn’t guarantee with the original equipment. We’re also going to change the transmission. We are upgrading to a 2-speed BTE Powerglide transmission with a transbrake and an 8-inch torque converter. We also have a set of Dynomax 3-inch bullet mufflers, which will hopefully add a few more horsepower.

There will likely be more upgrades as we go along. Stay tuned for future updates.

About Toni Montgomery

Toni Montgomery
A writer for Frontstretch since 2002, and editor since 2006, Toni heads up the NHRA coverage for the site. She’s responsible for post-race coverage in the weekly Pace Laps multi-series round-up along with the weekly Nitro Shots column featuring news and features from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. An award-winning former writer for the Presbyterian Church, Toni works in web design and freelances with writing in North Carolina.

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