GLENDORA, Calif. - NHRA announced, today, new oil down penalties for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series professional nitromethane classes (Top Fuel and Funny Car) for 2004. The penalties are designed to address the challenge currently faced by NHRA to minimize downtime at national events due to oil downs by professional race teams in the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories.

     "We are, by far, the most exciting motorsports on the planet," said Tom Compton, president, NHRA. "And although we have greatly reduced the amount of oil downs over the last few years, recently we've seen the beginnings of a possible trend going the other way. It is very important that we continue to strive to maintain the exhilarating and fast-paced action on the track that is an integral part of the entertainment experience for our fans."

Beginning at the 44th annual K&N Filters Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., each nitromethane team will receive one oildown violation with no penalty. Subsequent violations will be penalized as follows:
   *   Second violation will be subject to a $500 fine regardless of whether the incident occurred in qualifying or eliminations;
   *   Loss of 10 points if violation occurred during elimination rounds;
   *   Fines for each subsequent violation will increase in $500 increments. For example: first violation ($500); second violation ($1,000); third violation ($1,500); etc.

NHRA also announced further penalties when multiple violations occur at the same event as follows:
   *   A second violation during the same event will result in double the posted fine plus loss of 15 points if during eliminations. For example: first violation of race weekend ($500); second violation on same race weekend ($1,000 x 2 = $2,000); third violation on same race weekend ($1,500 x 2 = $3,000).
   *   Three or more violations during the same event will result in double the posted fine plus loss of 20 points if during eliminations.

     After the sixth violation, NHRA will review with the team their season performance and action will be taken based off the team's ratio of runs versus oildowns, willingness to accept assistance, etc. Ultimate action will be determined at NHRA's discretion but could range from probation, to a requirement to test, or denial to participate at future national events.

     NHRA announced that if a team makes 25 consecutive oil-free runs at an NHRA national event, they will earn an additional credit (one) towards a non-penalized oildown at an event. Credits earned in any one given race season, however, will not rollover to the following season.

     "Downtime due to oil downs at national events is one of the biggest challenges faced at NHRA to maintain the level of entertainment our fans have grown accustomed to expect at a NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event," said Graham Light, senior vice president of racing operations at NHRA. "It is imperative we continue to provide a quality show on the track not only for current sponsors and fans, but to sell the sport to new sponsors and grow our fan base.

     "We need to work with, and get the cooperation of, the teams throughout the 2004 season to address the issue of oil downs at national events," said Light. "We believe this new policy is designed to reward teams that have put into place an appropriate system to avoid oildowns, while penalizing those that chronically oildown the track at national events."

     Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., the NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. It presents 23 national events through its NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. The NHRA has 80,000 members and 140 member tracks. The NHRA-sanctioned sportsman and bracket racing series' provide competition opportunities for drivers of all levels. The NHRA develops the stars of tomorrow by offering the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, NHRA Summit Sport Compact Drag Racing Series, NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Street Legal Program. The NHRA also offers the NHRA O'Reilly Auto Parts Jr. Drag Racing League for youths ages 8 to 17.

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