While he is thankful for changes to his race car that protected his head and
neck in a spectacular crash last week at the Texas Motorplex, drag racing icon
John Force said Sunday that his next goal is to promote the development of a
protective “tub” that might help mollify leg and foot injuries like those from
which he is recovering at Baylor University Medial Center.
“I had no head injuries, no neck injuries, no back injuries, no bleeding,
not a even a Band-Aid on anything but my hands and feet,” Force said, crediting
changes to the cockpit that followed the tragic death of teammate Eric Medlen in
a testing accident last March at Gainesville, Fla. “The next issue is to put
the driver in an Indy Car-type monocoque that protects his legs.
“I wish I could explain it to you, but I don’t fully understand it
myself. Bottom line, I’ve got the best people in the world working on it. I’ve
got John Medlen, Eric’s dad, who heads up the Eric Medlen Project. I’ve got 15
Ford engineers, Dr. John Melvin and all the crew chiefs. Every day, they call
here and give input to Robert (Hight, Force’s son-in-law and driver of the
Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang) because I can’t be on the
phone with everybody. If I have an hour a day with my people, I’m lucky.
“You know, we did start on a tub three, four months ago when Eric
crashed,” Force said, “but we got so busy dealing with cockpit issues – extra
padding, the seven-point belt, new head-and-neck restraints – that there just
wasn’t time (to complete the project) and that’s why I’m here.”