INDYCAR has modified the Indianapolis 500’s new qualifying format to allow teams that haven’t made the field on the first day of qualifying to go for a position on the last row of the grid during the second day.
With this change, starting positions 31-33 for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing will now be provisional at the end of qualifying on Saturday, May 17.
Those cars, plus any entry that has not yet made the field but declares its intent to qualify to INDYCAR by 7 p.m. ET that Saturday, will hold a separate qualifying session on Sunday, May 18 to determine the 11th ‘Row of 3.’
“We realized the need to provide teams that suffer an unexpected hardship on Saturday a second chance to make the Indianapolis 500,” INDYCAR president of competition Derrick Walker said in a statement.
“The changes apply primarily for cars that crash or suffer a mechanical failure during their Saturday qualifying run. Ultimately, we will capture the fastest 33 cars and that’s who will make the race.”
Thus, the qualifying schedule on Sunday, May 18 will look like this:
- Group One: 10:15-12:15 p.m. ET – Determines starting positions 10-30
- Group Two: 12:45-1:30 p.m. ET – Determines positions 31-33
- The Fast Nine Shootout: 2-2:45 p.m. ET – Determines the Verizon P1 Award winner and first three rows of the race.
Additionally, INDYCAR has announced an extra day of practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday, May 19, which will be held from 12-5 p.m. ET.
Walker said that the extra session is designed to help teams focus on their race setups after being completely focused on qualifying setups that previous weekend.
“Previously, a majority of teams have utilized most of Sunday for full-tank running, so it was important for us to continue to give them that opportunity after qualifications are complete,” he added.
Back in March, INDYCAR announced its initial version of the new ‘500’ qualifying format, which has the nine fastest drivers on Saturday, May 17 advancing into the next day’s Shootout session for the pole.