The 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will have a new look to its two-day qualifying format, which will feature an expanded pole shootout.
The first day of qualifying from noon-5:50 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 21, will see each entry guaranteed one attempt, with the chance for multiple runs until time expires and locking in the top 12 drivers for a shot at pole on Sunday. Then, the second day will feature two rounds of qualifying where the Fast 12 will start in reverse order based on the previous day’s speeds. Each of the 12 drivers will have one attempt to post a four-lap qualifying time, where the fastest six will advance into the Firestone Fast Six while the remainder will fill spots seven through 12 based on the recorded time.
Each entrant of the Firestone Fast Six will have one attempt, with the format again being in reverse order based on results from the Fast 12 results. Ultimately, the quickest driver will secure the pole, which includes a $100,000 prize.
“We have an incredibly deep field heading into this year’s Indianapolis 500,” said IndyCar President Jay Frye. “The timing is right to implement a new and dramatic way to expand one of the most intense weekends on our calendar. Winning pole position for the 500 is an incredible feat, and with this new format, it will be even more challenging.”
Additionally, those that made the Fast 12 will be awarded NTT IndyCar Series championship points, with the pole winner receiving the max of 12 with a one-point decrease following each position down to 12th.
“Indianapolis 500 qualifying weekend always is special,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said “This format will give our fans even more opportunities to see IndyCar’S world-class drivers compete on racing’s biggest stage. While winning the race is the ultimate prize, capturing pole position for the ‘500’ is one of motorsports’ most prestigious honors and almost a race within a race. I cannot wait to see this expanded format on the final Sunday before Race Day.”
Per the release, a “Last Chance Qualifying session for spots 31-33 is scheduled from 2-3 p.m. ET Sunday, May 22 if there are more than 33 entries competing for a spot in the world’s most prestigious auto race. Each entry is guaranteed one attempt and can make multiple attempts until time expires. If multiple attempts are made, previous times are withdrawn, and the fastest non-qualified car assumes the 33rd spot.”
A practice session for the field of 33 starters for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is scheduled for noon-2 p.m. ET on Monday, May 23, with live coverage on Peacock Premium and the IndyCar Radio Network.
Live coverage of the Indianapolis 500 starts at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 29, on NBC, Peacock Premium, Telemundo Deportes on Universo and the IndyCar Radio Network. The full Month of May schedule will be announced later.
PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying Schedule (All times ET, subject to change):
Saturday, May 21
9-10:30 a.m.: Pre-Qualifying Practice: Peacock Premium, IndyCar Radio Network
Noon-5:50 p.m.: NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying: Setting positions 13-33 (or 13-30 if more than 33 entries) Peacock Premium, INDYCAR Radio Network
Sunday, May 22
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Last Chance Practice (If necessary): Peacock Premium, INDYCAR Radio Network
12:30-2 p.m.: Top 12 Practice: Peacock Premium, INDYCAR Radio Network
2-3 p.m.: Last Chance Qualifying: (Positions 31-33, if necessary) Peacock Premium, INDYCAR Radio Network
4 p.m.: Indianapolis 500 Top 12 Qualifying: NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network
5:10 p.m.: Firestone Fast Six: NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network
5:40 p.m.: NTT P1 Award Presentation: NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network