John Force supports shorter track intent

FORCE SUPPORTS INTENT OF 1,000 FOOT TRACK, FOR NOW Declines Comment on Crash That Led to NHRA Decision YORBA LINDA, Calif. -- Drag racing icon John Force said Thursday that, for now, he supports the unprecedented step taken by the NHRA ...

FORCE SUPPORTS INTENT OF 1,000 FOOT TRACK, FOR NOW
Declines Comment on Crash That Led to NHRA Decision

YORBA LINDA, Calif. -- Drag racing icon John Force said Thursday that, for now, he supports the unprecedented step taken by the NHRA on Wednesday when it announced that starting with next week's Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Denver, Colo., Top Fuel and Funny Car races at least temporarily will be contested to 1,000 feet instead of to the traditional 1,320 feet.

"As a PRO member, I support the NHRA decision, for now," Force said. "(Shortening the race course) was one of several options they considered but it's one of the few things that could be done immediately to reduce speeds (in the aftermath of the qualifying accident two weeks ago that claimed the life of Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta)."

Force, a 14-time series champion who is battling back from injuries suffered last September in a crash of his own at Dallas, Texas, and who still is dealing with the death of teammate and protege Eric Medlen in a testing accident in March, 2007, refused further comment but said he would keep an open mind with regard to long-term safety solutions.

The 126-time tour winner, who previously had declined to speculate on issues pertaining to the Kalitta incident while the investigation remained active, restated his position Thursday, emphasizing that such conversation is counterproductive, a lesson he learned in the aftermath of Medlen's crash at Gainesville, Fla..

The NHRA, which has lost three of its most prominent drivers in separate incidents over the last three years, identified several areas on which it is focusing its attention in the wake of the Kalitta crash: (1) ways to minimize catastrophic engine failures; (2) different parachute mounting techniques; (3) brake efficiency; (4) new methods of stopping runaway vehicles beyond the finish line; and (5) permanent means of further reducing speeds.

-credit: jfr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Eric Medlen