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.