John Force Says He's Stubborn And Muleheaded Just Like Earnhardt

Posted by: Jeremy Patterson on 11/17/2021

While his daughter Courtney is having an undeniably stellar year so far, sixteen time NHRA Funny Car world champion John Force has had a rough go it thus far this year. Force opened the season with massive explosions at the first few races, then smacked the wall at Joliet in a devastating crash that left the veteran driver bruised and sore at this weekend’s race in Richmond, VA.

Talking with NHRA’s Bruno Massel, Force admitted that he’s been slow to adopt some of the latest in safety equipment and also owned up to the fact that it’s his own stubbornness that’s kept him from making these changes. In the quick interview, which is just over a minute long, Force referenced Dale Earnhardt Sr, one of motorsports all-time greats, who was also openly stubborn about wanting to do things his way despite there being safer alternatives. While we can never say definitively that anything in particular could or would have saved Earnhardt’s life, it’s widely believed that a Head and Neck Safety, or HANS, device likely would have helped in his crash.

Now mandatory in most every major motorsports sanctioning body, HANS devices were optional at the time of Earnhardt’s fatal crash. Force runs a HANS but says the one he uses is an older design, which likely means it is missing some features that the latest designs have. After his incident in Chicago, though, John agreed to update all of his safety equipment and immediately noticed some positive benefits. Besides having the latest design with all of the current features, Force noticed he can see better with the new style helmet on, which certainly has to be considered a big plus given the speeds at which these cars operate.

It would seem the new gear has at least helped on some level as John raced his way to his first final round of the season in Virginia, losing to Courtney in a great side-by-side race in the final round.