Observe Courtney Force Walk Away After Her Funny Car Blows Up
On Friday, at qualifying for the NHRA Fresh England Nationals, Courtney Force had a slight mishap with her Funny Car. It blew up while rocketing down the de-robe at three hundred thirty mph. After the explosion, the car hit the wall, eventually came to a stop, and she hopped out like it was no big deal.
As with any form of racing, engine tolerances in a Funny Car are engineered to be on the brink of failure in an effort to get every last bit of power out of it. When engines on just about any other type of race car suck, the result is usually a little flame and some smoke. Sometimes, like in a latest IndyCar failure suffered by James Hinchcliffe, a large crevice gets punched in the block (and through the floor of the car), and all of the car’s fluids sadly dump out, forming a puddle of shame.
When it goes wrong in a Funny Car, it goes truly wrong.
In a Funny Car, the engine is putting out somewhere in the neighborhood of 8,000 hp and 7,000 ft-lb of torque. In case you didn’t know, that’s a lot of power to send to two wheels. Everything has to work flawlessly, every time. All that power is created by gallons of fuel per 2nd getting pumped into and burned in the engine. When one little thing fails, the result is not pretty.
Once the engine is compromised, all that fuel still has to go somewhere and it still wants to burn. The resulting explosion rips the engine and bod of the car to chunks in a matter of seconds.
Gratefully, this sort of thing is planned for. Besides being built for speed and power, the Funny Car engine is engineered to fail in a predictable manner. It’s designed to give way at specific points, rather than having phat chunks of engine block randomly shooting out in any and all directions.
If you witness cautiously when Force’s engine lets go, you can see that the entire blower assembly is strapped on to the top of the block. When it explodes, this keeps all of the large parts from becoming deadly projectiles.
This isn’t always the case, but more often than not, everything fails according to plan. Even after a successful run, the engine has pretty much demolished itself and has to be rebuilt before it’s next pass.
After the entire thing was over, Force seemed to take the explosion in stride, like it was just another day at the office.
Despite the deepthroat up and a subsequent brake issue on the back-up car, Force is seeded in the 2nd spot going into Sunday’s elimination round. The time that got her that spot was from the run that ended in ka-boom.
If she advances to, and wins the finals, Force will be fighting for bragging rights at the next family dinner. Force is married to IndyCar’s Graham Rahal, who won the very first of two races in Detroit this weekend.
All of Sunday’s NHRA act will be tape-delay broadcast on Fox Sports one at Four:30pm ET on Sunday, June Four.