NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Handicap or Index Racing

Handicap or Index Racing

The handicap starting system enables vehicles with varying performance potentials to compete on an equal basis.

Based on the anticipated e.t.s for each vehicle (dial-unders or indexes), the slower vehicle is given a head start equal to the difference of the e.t.s. At NHRA Mello Yello events, a no-breakout handicap system is used in Comp (handicap determined by national indexes). In Super Stock and Stock, drivers may dial under the national index, or select an e.t./dial-under that is quicker than the national index. Super Comp, Super Gas, and Super Street feature heads-up contests with respective indexes of 8.90, 9.90, and 10.90.

If a racer runs quicker than his or her dial or index, he or she is said to break out and is disqualified. If both racers run quicker than their preset numbers, the win goes to the racer who breaks out by the least. A foul start, or red-light, is a worse infraction than a breakout, so a racer who red-lights is disqualified even if his or her opponent breaks out.