NHRA will suspend oildown penalties for the 2009 season in both the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. The move is designed to save teams money and is possible given the success in recent years to minimize oildowns during national events to enhance the fan experience.
The oildown policy, which was first enacted in 2000 in the Professional classes and later in the Sportsman categories, was created to improve the quality of the show for fans attending NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events. The policy has been effective in reducing the amount of downtime caused by oildowns in the Professional and Sportsman classes at national events.
“This move is designed to ease the financial burden on the race teams, given we have experienced cooperation among the racing community to minimize oildowns at national events with much success,” said Graham Light, NHRA senior vice president-racing operations. “We are confident that the fans will continue to see a great show come the start of the season at the Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals.”
With that said, NHRA will monitor the situation closely during the year. If the new policy results in lengthy cleanup efforts due to excessive oildowns, some form of a penalty will be considered.
In 2008, NHRA removed the monetary fines associated with oildowns at national events midway through the year but kept the points penalties in place for the Professional categories. This year, monetary and points penalties have been eliminated in the Professional and Sportsman ranks.
Teams at all levels experiencing chronic problems with oildowns at national events will continue to be reviewed by NHRA, and further action may be taken.