NHRA officials announced today changes to the 2013 NHRA Oildown Policy for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events. The most significant oildown policy change in 2013 includes the elimination of points penalties during the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Participants qualifying for the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship begin the playoffs with one credit and points penalties will be waived during those final six events. Monetary fines will remain in effect for the entire 24-race season.
In addition, NHRA announced that the in-season testing policy, initially implemented at the request of Top Fuel and Funny Car teams in 2009, has been discontinued. Last year, Top Fuel and Funny Car teams were only allowed six test days during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. During the off-season, team owners asked NHRA to reconsider the limitations, and as a result and beginning in 2013, there will be no in-season testing policy.
Recognizing the need to continue to deter oildowns at national events to maintain and enhance the entertainment value for the fans, NHRA has increased the monetary fines associated with oildowns. The fine for a first violation at an event will increase to $1,500 in the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, with subsequent violations at the same event doubling to $3,000. Monetary fines for Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will remain the same as 2012: $1,000 for first-time offenders and $2,000 for all subsequent violations at the same event.
In addition to the monetary fines, teams will also lose NHRA Mello Yello championship points except, as mentioned earlier, at the final six events of the season. Points penalties remain the same as 2012: first violations result in a loss of five points during qualifying, and first violations during eliminations result in a loss of 10 points. Subsequent violations at the same event will result in each team losing 10 points during qualifying and 20 points during eliminations.
Since NHRA has implemented its oildown policy, track preparation and oildown clean-up capabilities have improved through additional equipment for the NHRA Safety Safari presented by AAA, including additional drag tractors and more jets to be employed during NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events.