Multi-tiered format brings further drama and excitement to
NHRA POWERade World Championship Battle; Year-End Payout Increased

GLENDORA, Calif (Aug. 30, 2006) – The NHRA POWERade World Championship just got a little more interesting for fans, sponsors and the race teams.

NHRA announced today a new multi-tiered “Countdown to the Championship” in all four professional categories of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Utilizing the final elimination round concept synonymous with the sport of NHRA POWERade Drag Racing, where winners move on and losers go home, the “NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship” features three distinct periods during the 23-race NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series when competitors will be eliminated from the championship hunt in a playoff-style format.

“The ‘Countdown to the Championship’ is an inclusive program whereby more competitors will have a chance to win an NHRA POWERade World Championship than ever before,” said Tom Compton, president, NHRA. “This historic change in our championship point structure will add more excitement and drama to the entire season, and magnify the spotlight during the season’s final six races, for our fans and the entire racing community.”

“After the grueling 17-race schedule, the field will be reduced to the top eight in the points standings, for a four-race playoff series to determine the field of four who will ultimately vie for NHRA POWERade World Championships. This format makes every race in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule that much more important,” said Compton. “There is nothing in motorsports that rivals the traditional Sunday elimination brackets that have been a part of NHRA POWERade Drag Racing for years. By applying that elimination concept to determine the series points standings, we have by far the most intriguing and suspenseful battle for any championship in all of motorsports.”

In the “Countdown to Eight,” representing the first 17 races of the season, competitors in all four NHRA POWERade professional categories, Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, will battle each and every race to secure a position in the Top Eight in the points standings, with the final race to reach the “NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship” being the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., Aug. 16-19.

Once set, the “Countdown to Four” begins at the most prestigious drag racing event in the world, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at historic O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, Labor Day weekend. The Top Eight in each category will have their points adjusted. First place in the standings will begin the countdown with 2,070 points; second place with 2,060 points and so on to eighth place starting with 2,000 points.

The “Countdown to Four,” will consist of four races with the last race being the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond, Va., Oct. 5-7. Following that race, the “Countdown to One” begins when the top four in each category have their points adjusted yet again. First place in the standings will begin the final two races with 3,030 points; second place with 3,020 points; third place with 3,010 points and fourth place with 3,000 points.

The final two races of the season, the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 18-24, followed by the season finale, the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Nov. 1-4, will see the final four competitors battling it out for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing World Championship.

No team has ever come back from outside the Top Eight with six races remaining to win the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series World Championship under the current point system.

“Traditionally, prior to the final six races of the season only a few teams still have had a shot at winning a POWERade World Championship. Under this new program, eight teams in each of the professional categories will have a legitimate chance to win,” said Compton.

Beginning in 2007, the NHRA POWERade World Champion in Top Fuel and Funny Car will receive a $100,000 Countdown Bonus making the total payout to win the POWERade World Championship $500,000 in each category. In Pro Stock, the POWERade World Champion will receive a Countdown Bonus of $50,000, making the total payout $250,000 and, in Pro Stock Motorcycle, the Countdown Bonus will be $25,000, making the total payout $75,000 to win the POWERade World Championship. In addition to announcing the POWERade Countdown to the Championship, NHRA will increase the total year-end payouts for the Top Eight in the four professional categories to more than $2 million.

The format at all 23 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national events will remain the same and feature competitors in the professional categories qualifying for spots in the 16-car fields for Sunday’s elimination round.


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