One of the most contentious rules in motorsports is no longer – and fans and drivers are likely to rejoice as a result.
In a surprise move on Monday, the National Hot Rod Association announced that it is doing away with its “back-up rule,” where a national record would only be recorded by the sanctioning body if, during the same national event, the driver made either a preceding or succeeding run within one percent of the potential record-breaking speed or elapsed time.
Starting with the season-opening Circle K Winternationals on Feb. 11-14 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, when a driver makes a record-setting run, it will be recognized as just that, a true record-setting run.
The NHRA competition committee approved the change not only for the premier Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, but also for the J&A Service Pro Mod Series and the Lucas Oil Series Alcohol classes.
However, there is a slight tradeoff, particularly for elapsed time national records, per an NHRA media release: “As is currently the case with all national speed records and Alcohol elapsed time records, points will no longer be awarded for elapsed time national records.”
NHRA senior vice president of racing operations Graham Light issued the following statement: “The one-percent policy was adopted during the early development stages of the timing system and wasn’t as reliable as the technology that we are fortunate to have in race control today.”
There will still be oversight to make sure there are no malfunctions or other glitches that could affect a record-setting run.
“We will still examine every national record run to make sure the incremental numbers support the performance, in addition to inspecting every vehicle for compliance with class requirements,” Light noted.
The move comes at a particularly advantageous time, as the season-opening Winternationals has produced a number of national records over the years. Now, any new records set in this year’s race will not have to go through the added one-percent requirement to verify the setting of a new national record.
Here’s a list of the current NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national records:
* Elapsed Time (ET): 3.680 sec. by Antron Brown, Aug. 2015, Brainerd, Minn.
* Speed: 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. 2015, Brainerd, Minn.
* E.T.: 3.884 sec. by Jack Beckman, Nov. 2015, Pomona, Calif.
* Speed: 331.45 mph by Matt Hagan, Nov. 2015, Pomona, Calif.
* E.T.: 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.
* Speed: 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ‘14, Englishtown N.J.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
* E.T.: 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct. ’12, Mohnton, Pa.
* Speed: 199.88 mph by Hector Arana Jr., March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.