Newsstand » Format changes enhance battle to qualify for Indy 500

Format changes enhance battle to qualify for Indy 500


The four-lap, 10-mile run to qualify for the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is one of the most daunting challenges in the IndyCar Series.

This coming May a new qualifying format to set the 33-car starting lineup will be introduced with the goal of increasing entertainment value for the 2014 qualifying weekend on May 17-18.

“This new format includes two exciting days of on-track action, all culminating on Sunday with the Fast Nine Shootout,” said Mark Miles, CEO, Hulman Motorsports. “Fans get to watch their favorite drivers battle to make the field on Saturday, and then fight for a pole position on Sunday. It will be a great show for fans attending the race and watching the broadcast on ABC.”

Qualifying will be enhanced with three sessions of time trials over two days:

May 17 (11 a.m. to 5:50 p.m.)

  • The fastest 33 cars compose the starting field (but not starting positions).
  • All entries are guaranteed at least one four-lap attempt to qualify.
  • The fastest nine entries advance to the Fast Nine Shootout.

May 18 (10:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)

  • Saturday times are erased and entries 10-33 must complete another four-lap attempt to determine their starting position in order of the slowest to fastest from Saturday times.

Fast Nine Shootout, May 18 (2 to 2:45 p.m.) 

  • Each entry will receive one four-lap attempt in the order of the slowest to the fastest from Saturday times. Aggregate times will determine the Verizon P1 Award winner and top three rows.

Qualifying results on Saturday and Sunday will include new points incentives to be announced at a later date. Practice sessions before time trials commence are scheduled both days.

“There is an enormous amount of talent in the field this year, which so far includes five former Indianapolis 500 champions,” said Derrick Walker, INDYCAR president of Competition and Operations. “The new format presents an additional challenge to drivers who have one chance to make the field on Saturday, and start over again on Sunday to determine their starting position.”

Fans at home will be able to track their favorite drivers’ progress as they attempt to qualify for the 500. ABC network will televise qualifications live from 4 to 6 p.m. May 17, and 1 to 3 p.m. May 18, in addition to the 200-lap race May 25, marking its 50th consecutive year of coverage of the race. The race is blacked out in the Indianapolis viewing area.

“Down through history, qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 has made for many dramatic and compelling television moments, and we’re confident that the leadership of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and INDYCAR will continue that tradition with this new format. We look forward to bringing it all to our viewers in May,” said Rich Feinberg, ESPN vice president, motorsports, production.