Brittany Force in massive crash at NHRA Top Fuel season opener as dad watches

Defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Brittany Force’s 2018 season kicked off with a big crash at the Winternationals in Pomona, California.

The 31-year-old lost control of her car just after the lights went green for her first round matchup against Terry Haddock on Sunday.

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John Force credited recent advancements in NHRA safety for the relatively minor injuries his daughter suffered in her crash.  (Fox Sports )

The car slid across the track, hit the wall, spun around and rolled onto its side before bouncing back upright and coming to a stop with a trail of flames behind it.

Haddock’s car also had trouble at the start and was far behind Force’s car as it drove into his lane so he didn’t get caught up in the accident.

Force was conscious after the incident and escaped major injury, but suffered bruised lungs and was brought to a nearby hospital where she spent the night under observation.

Her father, Funny Car driver John Force, had to go to the same hospital on Friday when his car’s engine blew during qualifying. He returned for the race on Sunday and lost his first round heat, but not before he witnessed his daughter's crash.

"I've been waiting for that to come for years, I've seen it happen to to many," the elder Force told Fox Sports.

"Takes your breath away. Knocks the wind out of you."

Doug Kalitta beat Tony Schumacher in the Top Fuel final while Matt Hagan took the Funny Car crown with a win over last year’s champ, Robert Hight.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com's Automotive Editor. Follow him on Twitter @garygastelu