DI Warm-Up: Breaking Down This Week’s NHRA Announcements
The NHRA media department was running at full throttle this week, releasing a series of announcements that were met with varying reactions online. All of the announcements are geared toward the fans, whether that means keeping current fans interested or attracting more eyes to the sport. A few of the announcements will affect the NHRA’s professional race teams as a result. We’ve broken down the information to include the highlights. The full stories are also available in case you want to learn more.
Steeper Points Deductions and Fines Added to Oildown Policy
Teams in the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories will face more serious consequences for leaking oil on the racetrack this year as the NHRA attempts to improve the fan experience by reducing downtime. First-time oildown violators in 2015 will be fined $1,000 and receive a five-point deduction. These penalties increase on a scale, all the way up to a $18,000 fine and 50-point deduction after a 10th violation. Only fines will be given during the six Countdown to the Championship races. We’ll definitely watch to see how these penalties affect the teams, especially the low budget guys. (Full Story)
“Baptism by Nitro” Campaign Hopes to Attract Nitro Rookies
In an effort to boost attendance and build its aging fan base, NHRA has announced a new campaign to encourage current fans to bring newcomers to events to experience the sport; the open pit atmosphere, warm-ups and teardowns, and the thunder of nitro racing. Prizes, including VIP “Baptism by Nitro” experiences, will be awarded throughout the season. A tip of the cap to NHRA for launching the initiative. (Full Story)
Five Live Eliminations Shows Highlight 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Series TV Coverage
NHRA and ESPN have experimented with live coverage over the last couple years. The aforementioned oildown policies should help as the live television schedule grows to include five races. Eliminations will be shown live on ESPN from the Charlotte, Bristol and Norwalk races, and live on ESPN2 from the Houston and Chicago events. The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals will receive 10 hours of coverage on ESPN and ESPN2. Unfortunately it looks like the online live streaming of the Friday evening qualifying sessions on ESPN3 has been axed. (Full story)
More Points at Stake at “The Big Go”
Adding to the excitement and prestige of the U.S. Nationals, the NHRA competition committee announced a new point-and-a-half scale for the historic Labor Day tradition. Competitors in the four professional classes will use the points scale for one weekend only, with 150 points given to the winner of the event, compared to the usual 100 points awarded at the other 23 races. Indy is the last regular season race, so the extra points will be especially valuable as racers attempt to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship or solidify their place in the Countdown. (Full Story)
- Austin Fit Magazine recently named NHRA Funny Car driver and Austin, Texas resident Alexis DeJoria the city’s second Best Fitness Ambassador in their Best Of 2014 issue. Check out this 2014 article from the magazine – DeJoria talks about her background, being a female racer, her fitness routine and how it plays into her career.
- The popular nostalgia Funny Car series previously known as the DRO AA/FC Challenge has added nostalgia Top Fuel dragsters to their program. Now called the DRO Nostalgia Nitro Challenge, the six-race series will pit dragsters against Funny Cars.
- Longtime Pro Extreme driver Tommy D’Aprile always offers a thought-provoking take in his monthly Drag Illustrated column, “The Real Deal”. Read his latest edition in our 2014 Photo Annual.
- JRi Shocks filmed their visit to the PDRA’s Rockingham fall race last year, and the resulting video is worth a few minutes of your time.
- PDRA live feed announcer Brian Olson and videographer Jimmy Biggs have been doing their best to keep doorslammer drag racing fans entertained and informed over the winter with their PDRA TV shop tours. This is the first part of their tour of Jerry Bickel Race Car’s production facility.
- Strap in for this look at rear engine Nostalgia Top Fuel dragsters through the lens of NitroAmerica. Several nostalgia drivers share why AA/FD is one of the wildest classes to take to the quarter-mile.