The NHRA competition committee announced changes to qualifying procedures at all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events, changes to the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship and also announced an added point-and-a-half scale to the season ending Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona, Calif.

Starting in 2017, drivers at the final event of the year in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will be racing for increased valuable points that could secure a world championship. The winner of the Auto Club NHRA Finals in each Pro class will claim 150 points; the runner-up will earn 120 points; the semifinalists will earn 90 points apiece; the second-round finishers will earn 60 points each; and the first-round finishers will all claim 30 points.

A maximum of 191 points is available to a single racer at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in each Mello Yello Series category through the points increase, which also includes 15 points to each driver who makes at least one qualifying attempt. In addition to 165 points for winning and making a qualifying attempt, drivers can be awarded 10 points for earning the No. 1 qualifying position and a max total of 16 points for earning 4 qualifying bonus points for leading each of the four qualifying sessions.

Auto Club NHRA Finals

Winner                                 150

Runner-up                          120

Third-round loser             90

Second-round loser        60

First-round loser              30

Points for qualifying positions at the Auto Club NHRA Finals:

1st          10           5th & 6th                             6

2nd        9              7th & 8th                             5

3rd         8              9th through 12th              4

4th         7              13th through 16th            3

Qualifying bonus points at the Auto Club NHRA Finals are awarded after each qualifying session for the first-, second-, third- and fourth-quickest passes of each session:

1st          4

2nd        3

3rd         2

4th         1

New for every event in the 2017 season, qualifying will be based off the quickest 16 elapsed times at the end of each qualifying session.

Changes to the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship will also be in store for all the racers battling for a championship during the six-race playoff system. The regular season champion will have his or her Countdown points reset to 2,100 while positions two thru 10 will again have their points reset on 10-point increments from 2,080 to 2,000.

NHRA also announced a change to qualifying at Countdown events in 2017. If a driver who qualified for the playoffs and is eligible for the championship does not qualify at a Countdown event in which two qualifying sessions were not completed, said driver will be guaranteed a qualifying position in the event’s final 16 car field.

That driver will be inserted into the ladder in the position of the non-championship eligible driver with the least amount of points entering the event. First round money will remain with the original qualifier.

Round points will be awarded to the Countdown driver but qualifying points will remain with the original qualifier.

“We believe the changes for the 2017 season will increase the level of competition in all the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series categories,” said Graham Light, NHRA senior vice president of racing operations. “The points-and-half up for grabs at the Auto Club NHRA Finals will bring a heightened level of excitement for the fans and the racers at the conclusion of the thrilling race season.”