NHRA has announced a two-pronged approach to minimize excessive down time as a result of oildowns and track preparation at Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events this year. The sanctioning body has invested in additional trackside clean-up equipment and implemented strict oildown penalties, which will include monetary fines and championship point deductions for violations.
“We recognize that oildowns are part of racing,” said Graham Light, NHRA senior vp of racing operations, NHRA. “But we polled our fans and they indicated that, though a part of racing, excessive downtime on the track has a negative impact on their experience. We believe the added equipment, coupled with across-the-board oildown penalties, will lead to less oildowns by all competitors, shorter down time on the track and a better experience for our racers and fans at NHRA national events.”
NHRA will provide an additional drag tractor and more jet dryers available for each Full Throttle Series event. With the additional equipment, NHRA can significantly decrease track preparation time by utilizing both tractors simultaneously. Also, with the added equipment and use of more jets, NHRA will be able to minimize clean-up time following oildowns.
In addition, following a string of lengthy oildowns during qualifying and eliminations in the latter part of 2010, NHRA has decided to reinstate and enforce strict oildown penalties for all classes competing at NHRA National events.
In 2011, the first violation for competitors in each of the four NHRA Full Throttle Series categories will result in a $1,000 fine. If the violation occurs during qualifying, it will result in a loss of five points and the loss of elapsed time and speed for the run. Times will be voided for qualifying position, qualifying performance points, session run order and national records. During eliminations, a violation results in a $1,000 fine plus a loss of 10 points and the loss of elapsed time and speed for the run. If the oil violation occurs on a winning run, the driver will advance, but will lose lane choice and run order selection for the next round, and the performance will not be eligible for national record consideration.
Second violations at the same event will result in a $2,000 fine plus a loss of 10 points in qualifying and 20 points in eliminations.
Competitors in Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car and Pro Mod will be assessed a $500 fine and five points for a violation during qualifying, and 10 points for violations during eliminations. The same rules regarding voided times, position, run order and national records apply to these categories. A second violation at the same event will result in a $1,000 fine and loss of 10 points during qualifying and 20 points during eliminations.
Finally, competitors in the remaining categories in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series competing at national events will receive a fine of $250, plus loss of five points for qualifying violations and 10 points for eliminations violations. A second violation at the same event for these classes will result in a $500 fine and loss of 10 points in qualifying and 20 points in elimination.
“Our hope and desire is to neither collect fines nor levy any penalties on the racing community,” Light said. “We hope that by announcing these penalties, the teams will work more diligently at oil containment.”
More than two oildowns at an event by a single team will result in an NHRA review of teams' season performance and further action may be taken as determined by NHRA. Penalties will be in effect for all 2011 events including the Countdown to the Championship events.
All teams will receive one oildown credit at the start of the 2011 NHRA national event season however no further credits will be awarded during the season.