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NHRA's Sportsman grading system: How it works
Last update: 2/3/2010
Due to the growing numbers of contestants, constraints on pit space and scheduling time, a certain criteria must be met before a driver may enter an NHRA National Event. The NHRA grading system determines who gains entry to the National Events and subsequently, rewards National Event aspirants who support Divisional activity.
Drivers receive one (1) grade point for participating in a Divisional NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event or National Open event (must pass technical inspection). Drivers are limited to one grade point per vehicle, per calendar week (Monday to Monday). Grade points are also awarded for the Top Sportsman and Top Dragster categories. The grade points earned in either the previous year, or the current year (whichever is greater), stand as the driver's "grade".
A driver who competes in multiple categories can combine grade points. For example, a racer competing in Super Gas at two events then Super Comp at two events will have a combined grade point of four and may register as a Grade 4 contestant in any single NHRA Sportsman category. When combining grade points, this total cannot be divided for two separate categories (ie. 10 grade points in Comp and 2 grade points in Super Comp equal a combined grade of 12, but CANNOT be allocated where 6 grade points go to Comp and 6 grade points go to Super Comp). Exception:
To accommodate certain hardship cases, as determined by NHRA, or a former racer returning to active competition, an average grade system has been developed. The average grade is calculated by combining the racer's grade points from the three previous years and dividing that number by three (total number of years). For example, a racer who competed in one divisional event in 2009, five in 2008, and six in 2007 has a total of 12 points, which, when divided by 3, equals a grade point of 4A ("A" for the averaging calculation). Average grades are always rounded down.
To accommodate foreign drivers, grade points will be issued for participation in select foreign events. Those events are the FIA European Championship, Australian Drag Racing Championship, Nordic Drag Racing Series, and Japan Drag Racing Association Championship. Each entry application must include written confirmation of participation in the series from the host country's sanctioning organization.
Online event registration in 2008 has been modified to accept entries ten weeks prior to each event for drivers with a Grade 8 or greater. Grade 7 racers can register one week later, Grade 6 racers a week after that, and so on until the category is filled. The Pro/Sportsman Release Date Schedule is posted on www.nhraeventreg.com.
The NHRA Division Directors handle the administration of the grading system. For additional information about the grading system, drivers should contact their Division Director.
1. A driver with a valid NHRA Gold or Silver, card will be guaranteed entry to any National Event (card must have been earned in either Full Throttle series or Lucas Oil series – cards earned in ET or Jrare not entitled to a provisional entry).
2. The defending event champion will be guaranteed entry to the event he/she won. For example, last years Super Gas winner at the Finals would be guaranteed entry into this year's Finals. Entry is not guaranteed to any other event or category.
3. A former national champion (Pro or Sportsman) will be guaranteed entry to any National Event.
4. A Professional driver earning Top 20 status in the current or previous season will be guaranteed a Sportsman entry to any National Event.
5. Owner credits may be awarded in cases involving a driver change. The owner must have grade points from the previous year for the category entering. Owner grade points cannot be a combination of multiple vehicles, or combined with driver grade points. Division Director approval required.
6. A Sportsman driver within the Top 20 in National points, and still in contention for a possible Top 10 year end position, will be guaranteed entry to any of the final four National Events of the racing season (
7. A Sportsman driver within the Top 10 in National points will be guaranteed entry to any of the final four National Events of the racing season. Driver must be in contention at the start of the event entering.
These provisional entry polices do not excuse the contestant from any entry fees or insurance surcharges. Drivers must enter event online at www.nhraeventreg.com prior to the deadline date/time. Provisional entries WILL NOT be accepted after the event deadline date/time. Driver changes will NOT be permitted for any provisional entry that registered after the event quota was filled.
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