Report: Indianapolis 500 Pole Day moving to Sunday

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Changes will be made to the current Indianapolis 500 qualifying format, as Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star is now reporting that Pole Day will be shifted from its traditional Saturday afternoon spot to Sunday, May 18.

According to Cavin, IndyCar Series officials were hoping to have final details on the changes presented during this week’s winter meetings in Indianapolis with drivers and teams. However, that will not be the case.

Since the 2010 season, Pole Day on Saturday has featured the top 24 positions on the starting grid being set, with the exercise culminating with the pole-determining “Fast Nine” shootout for the top nine drivers.

However, Pole Day excitement on Saturday has been giving way to Bump Day boredom on Sunday. In each of the last two years, there have been no instances of bumping, as the final nine positions on the grid have been filled with very little drama (see last year’s Bump Day report here).

That won’t do for Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, who has made revitalizing the Month of May one of his biggest priorities during his tenure. On May 10, the IndyCar Series will stage their inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the reconfigured Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course as a kickoff to preparations for the “500” on May 25.

At a sports marketing forum in Las Vegas this past December, Miles foreshadowed changes for Indy’s qualifying weekend that “some will think are heresy and some will think are tweaking.”

It appears we now know at least one of those changes. We’ll see if more comes down in the near-future.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”