Contingency sponsor awards: How it works


The contingency sponsorship program is one of the most valuable programs in NHRA Xplōd Sport Compact Racing Series. Many people are under the misconception that it represents “free money” being offered by manufacturers in exchange for slapping a couple of stickers on your car. Another common misconception is that you don’t have to buy the product, don’t have to use the product, or don’t even have to run the stickers except for in the winner’s circle photos, to get paid. While it’s not that simple, and there is no such thing as “free money” in today’s world, participating manufacturers are more than prepared to make good on the nearly $1 million in contingency postings for NHRA Sony Xplōd Sport Compact Racing Series.

Know who’s paying and on what product
A list of manufacturers, and the particular product they are posting on, is available on  Do not assume that any product from a manufacturer’s lineup is eligible for payment. Manufacturers use the contingency sponsor program as a means of marketing their current products.  Therefore, they will likely be very specific about the particular product from their inventory that is eligible for contingency payment. Paying on something they no longer make does little to boost sales of new product. For instance, posting contingency payments on a vehicle that has been out of production for 15 or 20 years would provide little incentive toward new car sales for an OEM. Therefore, most OEM’s will only pay on vehicles of a certain model year or newer.

Know which decal to display
As with the products, sometimes a very specific decal must be displayed in order to qualify for payment. For example, a gauge manufacturer might be paying on a tachometer only, and requires a decal that specifically addresses his/her “tachometer”. Displaying a generic “gauge” decal from the same manufacturer may not qualify for payment of a “tachometer” contingency.

Know the requirements for payment
Manufacturers have different criteria for payment of contingency. Some only require that their decal be displayed on the vehicle, and be verified by NHRA. Others may require that the actual product be in use and verified by NHRA, in addition to decal display. Still others may require proof of purchase, to be mailed to the manufacturer and verified before payment.

Obtain decals in advance
NHRA will have a limited supply of certain decals on hand at each event. However, we cannot guarantee to have any particular decal at all times. Therefore, it is to your benefit to contact each applicable manufacturer directly and obtain decals in advance. Many will ask for proof of purchase before sending the decals. Do not get frustrated. Rather, send the proof of purchase as requested and get the decals. You will be infinitely more frustrated to win an event and miss out on contingency payments simply because you did not take the time to obtain decals. Remember, it is YOUR responsibility to obtain all necessary decals.

At the event
Decals must be displayed on both sides of a vehicle during the entire event. Slapping decals on your car after winning the semi-final or final round could forfeit your payments. Even if our own photos of each finalist before the final round indicate decal display, sometimes a manufacturer will find a picture of a vehicle on a website or in a magazine that clearly shows the decal was not displayed earlier in the event.  Often times this will be enough cause to forfeit payment.

Decal verification forms are handed out to winners and runners up, in the staging lanes immediately after final rounds.  (Click here for sample form.) On this form, you claim all decals and/or products that are on your vehicle and eligible for contingency payments. The claims are then verified by NHRA. Forms cannot be simply “handed over” to officials. The vehicle must be presented for verification. Otherwise, all contingency payments may be forfeit. Therefore, it is extremely important that runners up, as well as winners, report back to the lanes after the finals.

Following each event, completed claim forms are processed by NHRA, and applicable information is relayed to each manufacturer. Payments are then processed by each manufacturer according to their own   company procedure. Like we said in the beginning, this is not “free money”. It is available, but only after the manufacturer is satisfied that he/she is getting a fare return for their investment. So if a manufacturer requests additional information, cooperate and provide whatever they need to ensure payment.

There is $1.0 million available in contingency payments to NHRA Xplōd Sport Compact Racing Series participants.  It’s additional icing on the cake for making it to the final round at an event. Make sure you get your fair share by following the rules and being prepared.