Injured 'Driving Force' Star Developing New Race Car Safety Feature
Injured 'Driving Force' Star Developing New Race Car Safety Feature
Previously, it was reported that NHRA drag racer and Driving Force star John Force was injured in a car crash while racing against Kenny Bernstein on September 23.  Fortunately, the 58-year-old father of three did not sustain any head or neck injuries, thanks to special changes applied to the cockpit of his car.  The changes were made following the death of his teammate, Eric Medlen, last March.

Force, however, still has more plans for increasing vehicular safety.  Fueled by his recent accident, Force is now focusing his energy on developing a new feature that will protect drivers' lower extremities.  "The next issue is to put the driver in an Indy Car-type monocoque [a vehicular construction that combines the body with the chassis] that protects his legs,” he said on his website.

John Force also said his team had actually started working on the project when Medlen crashed, but had gotten so preoccupied with fixing the cockpit, they could not find time to complete it.

"I wish I could explain it to you, but I don't fully understand it myself,” the Driving Force star said of the project.  “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.”

Force is working with Murk McKinney to implement the changes, which includes the addition of an X-shaped cross member for strength and an additional bracing designed to ensure the chassis will not break at a point that leaves the driver's legs exposed.

Because of the September 23 accident, John Force was in surgery for a total of six hours, with Baylor's chief of trauma services Dr. Michael Foreman, orthopedic traumatologist Dr. Alan Jones and orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Zehr working on his injuries, which include a compound fracture of the left ankle, broken toes and a broken bone in his right foot, broken and mangle fingers on his right hand and a dislocated left wrist.

On Sunday, Force expressed his desire to attend this week's TORCO Racing Fuels Nationals in Indiana, but doctors have advised him not to push through with his plans.  As a result, the Driving Force star has resigned to staying put in Texas, where he will be in the care of a trauma team.

-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
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