INDYCAR adds electronic pit exit commit line, tweaks qualifying rules

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Following a couple moments of confusion, perhaps consternation, at last week’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for the Verizon IndyCar Series, INDYCAR has released a few rules and procedural updates on Thursday.

Hitting the controversial pit exit situation first in the wake of Simon Pagenaud only being issued an Official Warning leaving pit exit last week (among others who were also dinged; Carlos Munoz received a Warning as well), INDYCAR has added an electronic pit exit commit line, to be implemented for this weekend.

Per INDYCAR: “An electronic pit exit commit line has been embedded in the track surface. The transponder in each Verizon IndyCar Series car must cross the embedded line to determine a legal pit exit. This procedure will be in use this weekend at Barber and at other series tracks where conditions permit.”

“The addition of the electronic pit exit commit line uses technology to improve enforcement of the lane usage rule and creates a system to determine if an infraction has occurred. The race stewards’ penalty guidelines remain unchanged,” INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations Jay Frye said in a release.

There were also a couple tweaks made to qualifying, after timing & scoring issues occurred and then an extra lap occurred in the Firestone Fast Six beyond the minimum five minutes of guaranteed green-flag time.

Segment 3 of qualifying (Firestone Fast Six) has now been extended to a minimum of six minutes of guaranteed green-flag time, up one minute from five, with the timing clock stopping on a red flag. This is Rule 8.3.4.6.

Additionally, if a red flag occurs near the end of the session and the remaining time is not enough for entrants to complete a timed lap, all entrants will be given an opportunity to complete one timed lap when green-flag conditions return.

In order to receive the one guaranteed lap, cars must leave pit lane within 30 seconds of the green being called. Previously, the rule called for Segment 3 to run for 10 minutes, with five minutes of guaranteed green-flag time.

Rule 8.3.5.1 has been added to confirm that any car that causes a red flag in Segment 3 of qualifying will be barred from participating in the remainder of the session. Will Power was stopped last week after causing a red, although no provision was in the rulebook at the time for that to occur.

Backup timing and scoring data decoders have been placed at both the traditional start/finish line and the timing line used for qualifying at Turn 14. This procedure will be in use this weekend at Barber and at other series tracks as conditions permit.

Entries can also receive an extra set of primary tires from Firestone (Rule 15.2.1.1) for the weekend, provided they complete five laps on one set of tires (including “in” and “out” laps) within the first 20 minutes of green-flag conditions during the first on-track session of an event weekend at a road or street course, including promoter test days. Previously, the time limit to complete the five laps was 15 minutes.

“The change in Segment 3 of road/street course qualifying was made to simplify the process, create a sense of urgency to have cars on track and give the fans a better show. We want to avoid situations where the Firestone Fast Six concludes on a red flag, so we’ve put in place the opportunity for each car to post one timed lap at the end of the session,” Frye added.

“Adding backup data decoders at the alternate start/finish lines puts a system of redundancy in place to assure accurate and quick results.

“The time allowed for teams to earn the additional set of Firestone primary tires has been expanded by five minutes and excludes red-flag conditions in the first on-track session.”