This is what happens when an 8000 horsepower nitromethane fueled funny car engine explodes.
Tony Pedregon vs John Force in the first round of eliminations at the season opening NHRA championship race at Pomona Cal. two weeks ago. Force himself in his first appearance since his incredible and near fatal crash last year at the NHRA event in Dallas Texas.
Everything looked good except that Pedregon, the reigning 2007 NHRA Powerade Funny Car Champion red lighted at the start giving Force the win which was only the beginning of bad things to happen.
Approaching the finish line at over 300 MPH Pedregons engine lets go in a spectacular fireball. Pedregon was amazingly only slightly injured with second degree burns to his hands, a testament to the safety features built into the cars and the technology in the firesuits and safety equipment that the drivers of these incredibly fast and powerful race cars have at their disposal.
John Force, who lost one of his young drivers, Eric Medlen last year in a fatal accident in testing, rushed over to Pedregon who, was once a member of Forces team and won a championship under his guidance and asked Tony if he was ok.
Pedregon, on the gurney and visibly shaken ready to be transported to the hospital for treatment and observation replied, “my hands are burning up but it’s what we do for a living”.
Since the loss of Eric Medlen, Force has been on an all out effort and spent millions of his own money to redesign the Funny Cars working with all his sponsors, engineers, chassis designers and safety experts in order to make them as safe as possible for the drivers.
He has a specially strong motivation to see that the cars are as safe as they can be made as his own daughter, 24 year old Ashley also drives one of these rockets on wheels.
Both Pedregon and Force will compete again in this weekends NHRA event at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix Arizona.