"Holy Toledo!"

June 18, 2007

Countdown To The Championship

Filed under: NHRA — Bill @ 10:29 am

Attention fellow drag racing fans, you should be headed to the staging lanes!

It’s time to get serious about figuring out this new NHRA points system.  Last August they announced this new “playoff style” system, it’s the first major change of it’s kind that I can remember in all my years of following this great sport.  What’s it all about?  How does this new system work?  Well first let’s get the official matters out of the way, then we can get on with the task of figuring out the details of this new points system.

As the “Countdown To The Championship” plays itself out over the next five months I will do my best to explain the rules, analyze the points, and ultimately help off of us to get more enjoyment out of what is sure to be a most memorable drag racing season.

Officially on August 30th, 2006 the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) POWERade Series announced it was implemented an all new format for the 2007 season.  This new “Countdown To The Championship” point system is sure to add more drama and excitement In the battle for the season long championship in it’s four professional categories (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, & Pro Stock Motorcycle).

The specific details:

This year’s NHRA season will be broken up into three important categories.  The first 17 NHRA races will determine who will qualify for the Top 8.  Those Top 8 cars will be seeded, and over the course of the next four races only the Top 4 will move on to the next round.  Again the Top 4 will be re-seeded, and the final two races on the NHRA tour will determine who will be the 2007 NHRA POWERade Champion.

Did you catch all of that?  Here are the rules according to NHRA:

At this point of the season we are in the “Countdown To 8′ phase.  After the first 17 races, which ends in Reading, PA (the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals), only the top 8 point leaders will remain in the championship hunt.  Those Top 8 will be seeded as follows:

#1 —-
#2 -10 points
#3 -20 ”
#4 -30 ”
#5 -40 ”
#6 -50 ”
#7 -60 ”
#8 -70 ”

The Top 8 will then begin a four race battle that will be called the “Countdown To 4.”  At the end of these four races only the Top 4 point leaders will move on.

This new system provides a great opportunity for those lower seeded teams.  Normally at this time of year there are at best 2 or 3 cars in contention for the title.  Now even the #8 seed has a legitimate chance to be the NHRA Champion.  All it takes it to get hot at the right time (are you listening John Force?).

The remaining Top 4 will again be seeded based upon the new point standings.

#1 —-
#2 -10 points
#3 -20 ”
#4 -30 ”

This final Top 4 battle will be called the “Countdown To 1.”

Here is where the fun begins.  With only two races remaining these Top 4 will all be in contention for the championship.  With everything on the line these last two races are sure to provide many exciting & dramatic moments.

Can you imagine how much fun it will be it the Pro Stock Top 4 consists of the two Ken Black cars vs. the two cars from Victor Cagnazzi?

The Funny Car & Top Fuel title chase will come down to Pomona.  Will it be Capps or Hight, Mike Ashley or Ashley Force, or former champs Gary Scelzi & Kenny Bernstein?  Will John Force get hot in time to make the Top 8?  Hot Rod Fuller, J.R. Todd, & Brandon Bernstein lead in Top Fuel, but Larry Dixon is heating up, and you can’t count out Doug Kalitta.  Oh, then there is this guy named Tony Shumacher.

There are still eight races left before the Top 8 is determined, which means that there are 32 round & 640 points out there to be had.

Tighten your lap belts, get the nitro flowing, and let’s go racing….

Next stop Englishtown!


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