Indy 500 Qualifying Format, Qualifying Draw for Day 1

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Chances are you may have forgotten or not fully remembered the new qualifying format for the Indianapolis 500 that’s coming into play this year.

In a few sentences, here’s my best shot at explaining it: You qualify today for race pit positioning, points (33 for first down to 1 for 33rd), and a shot at Sunday’s Fast Nine shootout. Tomorrow’s qualifying then actually sets the starting order for the race, with two segments to cover 10-33, and again from 1-9.

In other words, every driver and car is gonna have to strap in and go fast for four laps, at least twice.

Luckily, INDYCAR has put together a “Qualifying 101” for today – here is how it reads:

SATURDAY QUALIFYING

• All entries are guaranteed one attempt to qualify between 11 a.m. and 5:50 p.m.
• The fastest 33 cars will make up the provisional field for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race based on the fastest four-lap average time.
• Once the qualifying session ends, the top 30 cars are locked in to the field.
• However, all 33 cars must re-qualify on Sunday to determine final starting positions.
• The fastest nine cars advance to a shootout on Sunday to determine the Verizon P1 Award.

Qualifying Lines: 

• There will be two qualifying lines at the end of pit lane:
o Line 1: Cars that are unqualified or have withdrawn their previous qualifying times. Priority will be given to this lane.
o Line 2: Cars that have already qualified but want another attempt and have not withdrawn their previous qualifying times.
•  Multiple attempts are permitted without withdrawing a time by entering Line 2.
•  Teams can withdraw their time and enter Line 1, which will have priority over cars already in the field.
•  Teams that make multiple attempts can only improve their times if they have not withdrawn their time to enter Line 2, meaning, even if a driver records a slower four-lap average, that driver’s previous (faster) time will stand.

Qualifying Points, Saturday

1st – 33 points
2nd – 32 points
3rd – 31 points
4th – 30 points
5th – 29 points
6th – 28 points
7th – 27 points
8th – 26 points
9th – 25 points
10th – 24 points
11th – 23 points
12th – 22 points
13th – 21 points
14th – 20 points
15th – 19 points
16th – 18 points
17th – 17 points
18th – 16 points
19th – 15 points
20th – 14 points
21st  – 13 points
22nd – 12 points
23rd – 11 points
24th – 10 points
25th – 9 points
26th – 8 points
27th – 7 points
28th – 6 points
29th – 5 points
30th – 4 points
31st – 3 points
32nd – 2 points
33rd – 1 point

SUNDAY QUALIFYING

Group 1:

• All Saturday times are erased and positions 10-30 will re-qualify to determine starting position.
• Order will be the reverse of Saturday’s rankings.
• Lineup will be determined based on fastest four-lap averages.
• In the event that there are only 33 cars entered, this group will determine positions 10-33.

Group 2 (Only used in the event there are more than 33 cars):

• All Saturday times are erased and positions 31-33, and any entry that has yet to make one attempt to qualify, will re-qualify to determine the 11th row of the race.

Group 3:

• The top nine cars will run in reverse order based on Saturday’s times.
• All cars will make one attempt.
• At the end of the session, the cars are ranked 1-9 based on their four-lap average during the segment.

Qualifying Points, Sunday:

1st – 9 points
2nd – 8 points
3rd – 7 points
4th – 6 points
5th – 5 points
6th – 4 points
7th – 3 points
8th – 2 points
9th – 1 point

Note: The Indianapolis 500 will award double points for race results, but the qualifying points and any bonus points awarded for leading a lap (1 point) or most laps (2 points) will not be doubled.

And now, with that in mind, here’s the qualifying draw for today’s run. Teams have until 7 p.m. tonight to declare to INDYCAR if anyone wants to add an extra, what would be 34th car. Qualifying runs from 11-5:50 today (check local listings).

Num Car Driver Best Speed
1 8T Ryan Briscoe 219.745
2 91 Buddy Lazier 218.277
3 34 Carlos Munoz 227.938
4 21 JR Hildebrand 229.384
5 2 Juan Pablo Montoya 229.205
6 9 Scott Dixon 229.062
7 67T Josef Newgarden No Speed
8 20 Ed Carpenter 230.522
9 9T Scott Dixon 220.226
10 98 Jack Hawksworth 228.176
11 18 Carlos Huertas 224.242
12 8 Ryan Briscoe 226.072
12A 3 Helio Castroneves 229.843
14 27T James Hinchcliffe No Speed
15 19 Justin Wilson 225.058
16 63 Pippa Mann 223.984
17 68T Alex Tagliani No Speed
18 41 Martin Plowman 228.036
19 25 Marco Andretti 229.419
20 77T Simon Pagenaud No Speed
21 5T Jacques Villeneuve No Speed
22 26 Kurt Busch 224.739
23 11T Sebastien Bourdais No Speed
24 7 Mikhail Aleshin 227.822
25 83T Charlie Kimball 221.845
26 15 Graham Rahal 223.478
27 27 James Hinchcliffe 228.115
28 14T Takuma Sato No Speed
29 5 Jacques Villeneuve 227.682
30 22T Sage Karam No Speed
31 18T Carlos Huertas No Speed
32 12 Will Power 225.899
33 34T Carlos Munoz No Speed
34 28T Ryan Hunter-Reay No Speed
35 17 Sebastian Saavedra 226.137
36 33 James Davison 217.052
37 77 Simon Pagenaud 228.544
38 16T Oriol Servia No Speed
39 12T Will Power No Speed
40 83 Charlie Kimball 224.544
41 10 Tony Kanaan 224.836
42 98T Jack Hawksworth No Speed
43 67 Josef Newgarden 229.276
44 6 Townsend Bell 225.484
45 15T Graham Rahal No Speed
46 3T Helio Castroneves No Speed
47 2T Juan Pablo Montoya No Speed
48 63T Pippa Mann No Speed
49 68 Alex Tagliani 227.394
50 10T Tony Kanaan 220.755
51 22 Sage Karam 223.903
52 14 Takuma Sato 227.741
53 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 228.603
54 7T Mikhail Aleshin No Speed
55 16 Oriol Servia 226.387
56 19T Justin Wilson No Speed
57 25T Marco Andretti No Speed
58 11 Sebastien Bourdais 226.351
59 20T Ed Carpenter No Speed
60 41T Martin Plowman No Speed

Cooper solidifies PWC GT presence with Callaway Corvette

Callaway, Cooper, Gill. Photo: PWC
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Pirelli World Challenge could use a “face” of the series from a driving standpoint, and American Michael Cooper is a good candidate to fill that role for 2018.

Cooper, 27, has won PWC Touring Car, GTS and, most recently the SprintX GT titles within the series and has quickly blossomed into one of the series’ top GT stars.

It’s been a rapid rise for the Syosset, N.Y. native, entering into a world filled with series stars and champions such as Johnny O’Connell, Patrick Long, Alvaro Parente and a host of others.

But under O’Connell’s tutelage, Cooper admirably filled the rather gaping shoes vacated by Andy Pilgrim at Cadillac Racing, steering the Cadillac ATS-V.R to multiple race wins in the last two years – including a sweep of this year’s season finale weekend at Sonoma.

Cooper and Jordan Taylor were the model of consistency in SprintX this year, winning once at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and surviving contact at Circuit of The Americas to take that title.

With Cadillac withdrawing its ATS-V.R program at the end of the year though, Cooper was left a free agent for 2018. Fortunately with one door closed another opened, in the form of the GM-blessed but full Callaway Competition USA effort with its Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R that will come Stateside next year. Cooper and Daniel Keilwitz will be in the team’s two cars for the full season; the car was fully unveiled last week at the PRI Show in Indianapolis.

The Callaway is a proven commodity in Europe but couldn’t run in the U.S. unless the path was cleared by one of GM’s factory programs to end a direct, potential head-to-head competition.

Moving from the Cadillac to the Callaway Corvette should be a natural transition, Cooper said last week.

“It worked out incredibly well that GM decided to allow Calloway to run the car in the United States and it created an opportunity for me that wouldn’t have been there otherwise,” he told NBC Sports. “I talked to a lot of other GT teams and at the end of the day, I felt like this was the best direction for me to be competitive next year and to also continue furthering my career with General Motors.”

Indeed Cooper has graduated from the Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R in GTS to the Cadillac and now to the Callaway Corvette. Cooper hailed the Cadillac team for what they did for his career growth.

“Working with Cadillac Racing has been instrumental in developing my abilities both on and off the track,” he said. “So I’m definitely a much more well-rounded driver now and have a lot of experience in the World Challenge GT field, so I kind of know what to expect going into that first race and going into that first corner in St. Pete.”

As noted, the car’s success in Europe means it’s a well-oiled machine by the time Reeves Callaway has worked with PWC to bring it Stateside next year. And as Cooper explained, discussions had been underway for a bit of time to ensure his presence in this car and team.

“I think the car is going to be extremely capable. It’s already won championships and races in Europe. I think, in bringing it over here, we’re going to hit the ground running straight away,” he said.

“Calloway had wanted me to come drive for them in July or August. We always kept in touch since then, and there was a lot of work trying to put together a program before they decided that they were going to do a fully fledged factory program. So once they made that decision, I think the pieces were kind of in place already, and the conversations had been had to be able to say ‘You’re going to be our guy.’”

December is late for IMSA programs to get finalized, but it’s relatively early for PWC, with the season not starting until mid-March in St. Petersburg. An extensive testing program should follow, as Callaway establishes its U.S. base and infrastructure.

“It’s definitely early for a Pirelli World Challenge program to be announced in December when we start racing in March. So that’s very good,” he said. “But, the team has a lot of work ahead of them in terms of getting infrastructure set up here in the United States, because a lot of their racing program has been in Europe. So, there will be a testing program, but they have to get the infrastructure in place first. But, we’ll be well prepared for St. Pete, I’m certain of it.

“Last year was the first year when I could sit back, kick my feet up, and know what I was doing next year. So, to be able to have everything done and be able to announce it this early on makes my life less stressful and now I can just focus on preparing myself and my team for next year.”