Video: John Force’s Funny Car Goes Ka-Blooey at Pomona

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.


5 thoughts on “Video: John Force’s Funny Car Goes Ka-Blooey at Pomona

  1. Funny car and Top Fuel cars are intense. My favorite form of racing, although not for this reason. Fuel cars run for a total of 90 seconds per run( includes warm up, burn out and run.) and are rebuilt after every run. It’s an amazing thing to watch. This, obviously, is a catastrophic event, and doesn’t happen often. This particular incident, just cost in excess of $100,000 dollars, ( Bodies, made of carbon fiber, cost $50g’s alone) and more than likely, a mistake on one of the crew during rebuild, and Mr. Force will scold them accordingly. A typical non-catastrophic rebuild consists of new pistons, rods, bearings, rebuilt heads, and supercharger seals and clutch discs, every run. Unbelievable machines. Not to worry, though, they always have a “backup car”. John Force has been at the center of safety, especially after one of his drivers, Eric Medlen was killed in a testing crash in 2007 and he himself almost died in a violent crash in Texas later that same year after a tire went down and the car broke in half. It’s a crazy sport. If you are a motorhead, you owe it to yourself to see one of these events. Don’t forget the earplugs.

  2. The parachute has the back wheels off the ground. Must need the aero to keep them down.
    Personally I feel fuel cars are past their use by, so many explosions, all potentially very dangerous. And so stupidly expensive. Plus the tracks are not long enough anway. They will be racing on the Eighth soon because of the speed and lack of brakes!
    And even top alcohol cars are too fast for the 1/4. But a little more sane.

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