This past weekend’s NHRA Winternationals featured one of the more violent engine explosions in recent memory, but for the driver, 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, it was just another day at the office. See the video.
For whatever reasons, the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California featured an unusual number of violent engine failures, especially in the early rounds. One crew chief attributed the mishaps to a sudden and severe change in atmospheric conditions, but even on the best of days the engines in NHRA’s Top Fuel and Funny Car categories are tuned to the brink of calamity, burning around one gallon of nitromethane fuel per second. It doesn’t take more than a hiccup to send these powerplants straight over the edge, with often spectacular results.
In his remarkable five-decade career, 16-time Funny Car champion John Force has no doubt suffered more catastrophic engine failures than the NHRA statisticians have bothered to count. In first-round action at Pomona this past weekend he racked up one more, and thanks to the extensive safety measures in use, he casually walked away. (It was a rough weekend overall for the Force family, as daughter and current Top Fuel champ Brittany Force suffered a crash that sent her to the hospital, though her injuries were reported as not serious.) Courtesy of NHRA, here’s one explosive engine failure, and in glorious slo-mo, too, as the Camaro body is blown clean from the chassis by percussive force. Watch this.