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The year in review: Triumphs, tragedy, transition

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Top performance Top Fuel and Funny Car race teams applauded NHRA's interim decision to race to 1,000 feet, and the competition surely did not suffer as fans witnessed history throughout the latter half of the season, including eventual Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher's impressive 31-round unbeaten streak that culminated in his record sixth championship. Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. renewed its title sponsorship of the national event at scenic Maple Grove Raceway in southeast Pennsylvania, Holley Performance Products signed a three-year extension of its title-rights sponsorship of the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion, and Lucas Oil Products was named the title sponsor of the 2008 Lucas Oil NHRA Super Nationals in Englishtown and also renewed its multiyear agreement for title sponsorship of the NHRA national event in Brainerd.

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									The year in review: Triumphs, tragedy, transition
    a season which old records
Inplay and ainyear wherewere were broken
in
  despite new rules that
                                                                                   and outside experts worked
                                                                                     together to examine what
                                                                                      happened and analyze
                                                                                                                  Drag Racing Series season after rising to the
                                                                                                                  challenge of the new six-race Countdown to 1
                                                                                                                  format. Schumacher was voted third-quarter
new alliances were                                                                   possible changes. While      Driver of the Year 2008 and is expected to be
formed and old friends                                                              working with the racing       named the overall 2008 Driver of the Year.
were lost, NHRA                                                                      community concerning the        All of the drama was captured for home viewers
Drag Racing rose to                                                                   accident and its causes,    as ESPN2/ESPN2HD presented 21 of the 24 races
meet challenges                                                                        NHRA changed the           of the 2008 season in the coveted 7-11 p.m. ET
both old and                                                                           racing distance for Top    prime-time viewing window. This year marks the
new in a                                                                               Fuel and Funny Car         eighth consecutive year of NHRA’s exclusive
remarkable                                                                            classes to 1,000 feet       broadcasting partnership with ESPN.
season of                                                                           instead of the traditional
competition.                                                  1,320 feet as an interim step, and NHRA             Sportsman Racer Advisory Council
    Racers in the                                        continued to analyze and determine whether changes          NHRA also worked closely with the Sportsman
Professional categories entered the season at the        should be made to build upon the sport’s long-           racing community in 2008, forming the Sportsman
annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA                          standing safety record.                                  Racer Advisory Council to provide a means for
Winternationals in early February under a revised                                                                 discussing and evaluating rules and regulations
format for the popular Countdown to the                  Continuing safety enhancements                           pertaining to Sportsman racing at NHRA events.
Championship and with new rules on varying                   NHRA formed a safety task force including
degrees in all four classes, and yet they put on tight   NHRA officials and Top Fuel and Funny Car crew
to-the-wire racing — both on the track and on the        chiefs to investigate, analyze, and determine ways
points charts — for which NHRA has become famous.        to implement initiatives aimed at enhancing
    The Countdown to 1 playoff portion of the season     safety. A safety shutoff controller was
was expanded to include 10 drivers instead of 2007’s     implemented for Top Fuel and Funny Car vehicles,
eight, and, given the significant impact weather and     which can shut off fuel and ignition to the engine
atmospheric conditions have had on qualifying in         as well as deploy the parachutes when triggered by
past seasons, NHRA modified its race-qualifying          a variety of conditions, including depressing the
procedure so that only the top 12 elapsed times in       steering-wheel-mounted driver’s button, manifold
each Pro category would be provisionally recorded        burst-panel rupture, fire-bottle activation, excessive
prior to the last day of qualifying, giving more teams   oil-pan pressure, and dragster rear-wing failure.
a chance to make the 16-car starting order during            NHRA also worked with teams to discuss new
the final day of qualifying.                             parachute materials and mounting locations, and
                                                         leading manufacturers in the performance-parts              The advisory council consists of four
Technical changes                                        industry worked with teams at the season’s end to        subcommittees representing groups of categories
                                                         test a variety of new brake systems for Top Fuel         within the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series
                                                         dragsters and fuel Funny Cars. NHRA mandated             program. The first meeting of the SRAC was held
                                                         the use of the Electrimotion Safety Shutoff              March 14 during the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals
   
								
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