The NHRA will implement an oildown penalty policy for the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. The penalties will be in effect for the final race of the season, the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, Nov. 11-14, at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
In Pomona, teams depositing oil on the racetrack surface during any qualifying or elimination rounds will result in loss of the elapsed time and miles per hour for that run. In qualifying, the time will be voided for all purposes (qualifying position, performance points, national records, low et/top speed). On Sunday, the time will be voided for the purpose of lane choice, run sequence choice, national records and low et/top speed. However, should the violating team win the round, it will advance in the bracket, be deemed the round winner, and maintain the points earned.
In addition, each oildown will result in a monetary fine. The first violation will be assessed $2,500, and the second violation will be assessed an additional $5,000 fine.
"During the last several races, there have been an unacceptable number of delays due to oil on the racetrack, having a significant impact on the quality of the show for the fans," explained the sanctioning body in its announcement of the new rules.
"Given the strict curfews that must be adhered to in Pomona, and the fact that championships need to be decided, it would be impossible to finish the event in a timely fashion if the delays due to oil were to continue at the same rate they have the last several races,” said Graham Light, the NHRA's senior vp, racing operations. “We wanted to create a strong policy that would ensure the teams make every effort to contain oil, while not significantly impacting the outcome of the championships.”
The policy only pertains to the final race of the season, but NHRA intends to gather input from the drag racing community and develop a comprehensive policy for the 2011 season.
An oildown violation is defined as any incident requiring the use of mechanical equipment to cleanup an oil spill. The policy encompasses the entire length of the track surface, from burnout box to where the vehicle exits the track. As in the past, revenue collected will be used to improve cleanup time and efficiency.