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Countdown Format


Nitro Member
I know there have been a few discussions :D about the Countdown since it was implemented several years ago, but, I think maybe it's time again. It dawned on me that while NHRA continues to modify the format so that the odds are better and better for the titles to come down to the final run, at the final race, this isn't new. It's exactly how it was in the early '70s! Remember? No matter who did what all year, the winner of the World Finals was the World Champ. So in essence, we've almost come full circle. I'm not against a countdown type format, but it's time to revamp it. Here is what Antron thinks, as an example:



Nitro Member
HMMMMM...........so after winning a couple of Championships during the countdown, now this year that it has worked against him he does not agree with it....


Nitro Member
I really wish the championship would be based on points accumulated all thru the year. Really dislike the countdown. Kinda wish this race was the Final Countdown. :p


Nitro Member
Great info, I wonder about this each year just do not find the info to figure it out.
So if the countdown was not in affect this year who would of won, you seem to be up to date on the info.
Feel free to backtrack as well as read up on current times in this thread..


I haven't updated Vegas yet, but will soon. Steve Torrence, Ron Capps, and Bo Butner. PSM is still undecided.


Nitro Member
I have kept every stat , scenario , and story from 1966... ..and - researched everything before then... Countdown or not - the prognosis doesn't look good... take what you can get on your way towards the lifeboats...
Wow. Reading antrons explaination of his revised countdown made my head spin. Just seems too complicated. Made me yearn for the good old days of straight forward point system. But that said, if the countdown has to stay what he’s laying out has its merits. Changes should be made to this bad system. Excellence must be rewarded


Staff Member
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Nitro Member
It's what I've said from the start. Season based points total is the best option. If that doesn't work at least make it an 8 car playoff with them all on the same side of the ladder. Non-playoff cars qualify on the other side. The final round between a playoff and non-playoff car is for money and trophy but no points. That helps take away from any <ahem> forced dive factor. They could also toss in bonus money to the non-playoff car with the best points total over the final playoff races.

We have had champs crowned who have only had to beat 2 countdown cars, we've had drivers win 8 races and not win a title. Instead of a season of importance they have made only 2 or 3 races matter. There is no longer the greatness of battling the heat, elevation, cold and everything else that happens in a season. Just get hot for a couple of races and you are good. We don't get legendary, we now praise mediocracy. With the low car counts you don't even have to make all the races the make the playoffs or even win a title.

The countdown seemed to tick off the hard core fan, the ones that go to multiple races and watch all season, but in return it didn't draw the new fan in. When the NHRA rolls into town, the casual fan comes to a race for that event. Who won the title last year is of no consequence to them, only who wins the race they are at. Whatever championship system they use doesn't matter to that fan. But in order to chase that fan, they alienated the die-hard fan.

I could live with a true 8-car playoff, although would much prefer a real season long champ. It might it get me going to more races again, as I am down to 1 NHRA race per year now. The year before the countdown I went to 4. Now I spend my money at other drag racing events.


Nitro Member
While not a fan of the countdown it is fun to see all four champions crowned at the final event of the year. I was more excited watching first round yesterday than almost any round all year. I wasnt happy with the results of the fuel classes but what can you do. I would like to see changes to the format. I think an 8 car A field and B field would be fun for the countdown races like others have mentioned. Winner of both could run in the final and if the countdown car were to win they should get bonus points for winning the event. I think if you keep the format the same as it is, instead of resetting the top 10 points they should cut everyones point's in half. Capps had a 122 point lead over Hight so instead of the lead being cut to 30 it would have been cut to 61.Torrence had a 62 point lead over Antron so that would have been cut to a 31 point lead. Torrence on the other hand had a 544 point lead over 6th place Brittany. She would have only been down 272 with points cut in half. Butner had a 148 point lead going into the countdown so he would have been in first by 74 pts. This format would also give guys outside the top 10 a chance at making the top 10 in the final 6 races.
Antron's plan would be a sensible approach to a countdown if they feel the need to have one at all. I don't. A full season of racing well should be rewarded as such, period. After yesterday I've come to realize that the World Championship is really pretty meaningless, as neither of fuel teams would have likely won without the countdown entitlement points.

In straight-up racing Hight would have had to have gotten 166 more points than Capps to win - maybe with the 1.5x points at Pomona this could have happened. Force on the other hand would have needed 502 points more than Torrence to win - no way. To say the countdown is unfair and rewards mediocrity over superiority is an understatement.
I think that NHRA did a pretty good job holding the interest of the public as the season wound down. Torrence's anger was not unexpected he had a good year, things just sagged after his wreck. A system that allows a team to lockup the championship to early would be a mistake, obviously.


Nitro Member
what would the points have been using the old system this year?
El fin de 2017

(Position without countdown - position WITH countdown) (+/- position change from Vegas) The underlined driver is the last one in contention and everyone from there down is officially out of the championship.

Top Fuel
1-2 Steve Torrence 2176
2-4 Antron Brown 2027
3-5 Leah Pritchett 1945
4-1 Brittany Force 1755
5-3 Doug Kalitta 1629
6-8 Tony Schumacher 1555
7-6 Clay Millican 1469
8-9 Terry McMillen 1060
9-7 Shawn Langdon 1053
10-10 Scott Palmer 906
11 Troy Coughlin Jr 576
12 Terry Haddock 483
13 Shawn Reed 371 +1
14 Pat Dakin 368 -1
15 Troy Buff 342 +1

Funny Car
1-2 Ron Capps 2018
2-1 Robert Hight 1950
3-4 Jack Beckman 1734
4-5 Matt Hagan 1680
5-6 Tommy Johnson Jr 1631
6-3 Courtney Force 1575
7-7 John Force 1365
8-9 J.R. Todd 1221
9-8 Tim Wilkerson 1189
10 Alexis DeJoria 1075
11 Jonnie Lindberg 956
12 Jim Campbell 926 +1
13-10 Cruz Pedregon 908 -1
14 Del Worsham 876
15 Jeff Diehl 480

Pro Stock
1-1 Bo Butner 2247
2-2 Greg Anderson 2077
3-4 Tanner Gray 1901
4-3 Jason Line 1800
5-5 Drew Skillman 1686
6-6 Erica Enders 1420
7-7 Jeg Coughlin 1342
8-8 Allen Johnson 1010 +1
9-9 Chris McGaha 985 +1
10-10 Vincent Nobile 979 -2
11 Alan Prusiensky 760
12 Alex Laughlin 606
13 Shane Gray 585
14 Kenny Delco 480
15 Matt Hartford 473

Pro Stock Motorcycle
1-1 Eddie Krawiec 1587
2-3 LE Tonglet 1449
3-2 Andrew Hines 1194 +2
4-5 Gerald Savoie 1180
5-7 Hector Arana Jr 1164 -2
6-6 Matt Smith 1100
7-4 Scotty Pollacheck 1073
8-8 Karen Stoffer 747
9-9 Joey Gladstone 735
10-10 Angie Smith 701
11 Steve Johnson 582
12 Chip Ellis 464 +1
13 Angelle Sampey 404 -1
14 Mike Berry 395 +1
15 Cory Reed 361 -1

Best overall season award goes to Bo Butner with the highest points total of any pro driver.

Pro Stock mirrored the real season the most, with only Jason Line and Tanner Gray trading places.


Nitro Member
A "countdown" isn't really horrible, like others have said, it's probably time for a revamp of what we have now.
It is horrible for the format of drag racing. They (NHRA) are trying to create a "playoff" scenario, like we see in the stick and ball sports. The difference is, in those sports the people in playoffs are the only competitors.

The NHRA countdown is pointless. Either have a season long points race, or have a one race playoff. This hybrid is meaningless.

And I'm not saying it out of sour grapes because I think another racer should have won...I'm saying it because it is 100% meaningless.
funny that the class most in danger of going away is the only one not affected (too much) by the Countdown......"real racing" according to those who hate the current system. Or, is it lack of diversity and low fields that has kept everyone cemented into their place in the class?
Next year it will be the 2018 Camaro Countdown
Redoing the points for the countdown needs drastic restructuring. If the NHRA wants to keep this unfair system then I suggest the following:

The #1 guy (prior to the countdown) only gets a round and a half lead over the second highest car? That's it? Even if he was 7-8 rounds ahead of the second car? And the #2 car is now 10 points ahead of the #3 car even though he was 1 point ahead of the #3 car prior to the countdown (not fair for the #3 car)? The redoing of the points should be based on dividing the points (after Indy) by 4 or 5 or 6 (that number will have to be determined by the NHRA). This way the difference between each driver's points (for the countdown) is based on how they compared prior to the countdown. The points obtained for each countdown race would remain the same. The cars would be closer together in points but the success of a team over the past 18 races would be reflected by where they placed when the points were restructured. Success during the 18 race season would be rewarded.And should be. None of this "flash in the pan" crap.

My overall take on the countdown system? IT SUCKS!!!
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