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Points, Pits, Prestige: Qualifying Importance Grows

Indianapolis 500 Mile Race qualifications were revamped for 2014 to provide spectators and ABC viewers two days of intrigue and and Verizon IndyCar Series teams incentive and investment in strategy.

ABC will televise qualifications from 4-6 p.m. (ET) May 17 and 1-3 p.m. May 18 in addition to the race at 11 a.m. May 25. ESPN3 will provide coverage of qualifications wrapped around the ABC broadcast windows, and IMS Radio Network coverage is augmented by real-time Timing & Scoring on www.indycar.com and the INDYCAR 14 app. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also can be heard on network affiliates, XM 209 and Sirius 213.

The format will again integrate the Fast Nine Shootout to determine the Verizon P1 Award winner and the first three of 11 rows for the race May 25, in addition to entries required to make at least one four-lap qualifying attempt both days -- the first day to secure one of the 33 spots and the second day to determine their starting position.

View Qualifying Format Infographic


"There are several benefits to do very well here," INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations Derrick Walker said in reference to drivers and entrants reaping rewards for strong runs on the 2.5-mile oval.

Points: On May 17, 33 points will be awarded to the fastest qualifier down to one point for 33rd. On May 18, nine points will be awarded to the Verizon P1 Award winner down to one point for ninth in the Fast Nine Shootout. A driver/entrant that sweeps both the top spot in both sessions will have 42 points deposited in the full-season championship before starting the race. The "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" also pays handsomely in points -- 100 to the winner.

Pits: Pit selection for the race -- an important and prized commodity -- will be reflective of starting position determined May 18.

Prestige: The Verizon P1 Award winner will received a $100,000 bonus in addition to the championship points accrued over the two days. The other front-row starters will earn $30,000 (second) and $25,000 (third). Team owner/driver Ed Carpenter won the pole in 2013 with a four-lap average speed of 228.762 mph in the Fast Nine Shootout.

Then entrants also have to look a week ahead.

"Qualifying is important as far as you want to get up as far up the grid as you can get and it minimizes the danger of those first few laps because you can’t control what people are going to do in front of you," two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. said. "The further up the grid you are, the safer."

Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Qualifications 101


Saturday, May 17

- 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:

Line 1: Cars that are unqualified or have withdrawn their previous qualifying times. Priority will be given to this lane.
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.

Sunday, May 18

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.

 

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