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John Force taken to Dallas hospital


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Drag racing's biggest star, 14-time champion John Force, was alert and conscious after suffering two broken legs and an injured arm in a nasty top-end collision Sunday with fellow straight-line legend Kenny Bernstein in the second round of eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex outside of Dallas. Force has been airlifted to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas for further treatment. Their Funny Cars got together just as they crossed the finish line after Bernstein clipped the final timing cone. The numbers, although unofficial, showed Force crossing with a 4.863 at 315.34 mph to Bernstein's 4.904 at 312.06 mph.

Bernstein quickly made his way out of his Monster Energy Drink Dodge Charger R/T and was shown walking around and talking to medical and safety personnel on the large television screens at the racetrack, which brought a huge cheer from the crowd. But the mood quickly turned quiet as everyone waited for word on Force's condition. Minutes later, track announcers reported that Force was talking to EMTs but would be transported by medical helicopter for further evaluation. Team spokesman Dave Densmore reported Force's injuries to the media. NHRA.com will provide more information on this breaking story as it becomes available.

Team spokesman Dave Densmore reported Force's injuries to the media. "He was asking to talk to Laurie, his wife, and Ashley and Robert Hight, so that was a good sign," Densmore said. "He is in a lot of pain, obviously. They can't take passengers on the helicopter so the family is off to the hospital in a car."

"John has very serious injuries to his hands, his legs, and his feet that will require extensive work-up and treatment," said NHRA doctor Dwight Shewchuk, who was first on the scene with the Safety Safari. "Nothing appears life-threatening at this time but he certainly has significant injuries so he's been taking to Baylor Hospital where he'll be further evaluated.

"Although he was alert and conscious throughout the whole thing he was demonstrating some signs of a concussion as he was asking the same question over and over. But his vital signs were stable and he's on his way."

Daughter Ashley Force, who won her second-round race with Del Worsham, opted not to compete in the semifinals.

Said Bernstein, who was not injured in the incident, "First of all I just pray that John's going to be okay," Bernstein said. "I know he's hurt and the main thing I'm praying for is that he gets 100-percent recovery. That's more important than anything right now for me, Sheryl, and our team. I know he was talking to me there and he was asking if he hurt me. That's typical John right there. He'll be okay. He's a strong-willed man, he'll be fine."

NHRA.com will provide more information on this breaking story as it becomes available.

http://www.nhra.com/content/news/24436.htm

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