John Force at the Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol, TN on June 9, 2024. John Force at the Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol, TN on June 9, 2024. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports.)

Last Sunday, 75-year-old racing legend John Force was in a terrifying crash. The 16-time NHRA champion’s Nitro Funny Car blew its engine, burst into flames, and careened into a wall during a qualifying session at the Virginia NHRA Nationals.

After that crash, Force was taken to hospital. He was initially described as alert, but he wound up with severe traumatic brain injury effects, and had to be heavily sedated. However, his family noted Sunday that he’s now making significant recovery progress:

It’s unfortunate to hear that Force is still facing so many challenges here, and that he’ll need to remain in neuro intensive care for the time being. And there looks to still be a long road to recovery ahead for him. But it is positive that he’s been able to open his eyes and recognize his family.

Over the years, Force has picked up 16 NHRA Funny Car titles as a driver, as well as one AHRA one. And he’s won 22 titles as an owner, including two NHRA Top Fuel ones won by his daughter Brittany. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2008, and he remains a massive figure in the racing world. And that world sent plenty of tributes to him Sunday. Here are some of those:

Our thoughts and best wishes go out to Force and his family.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.