Yay. Just when you thought you had the Indy 500 qualifying format memorized IndyCar dropped a press release Thursday morning to inform you of ANOTHER format change.
Indy 500 qualifying is a two-day affair all in the name of TV and drama. IndyCar spends more time qualifying over two days than the race takes to run but we’ll ignore that.
Here is how the new qualifying format will look when May gets here.
- 8-9:30 a.m.: Open Practice
- 11 a.m.-5:50 p.m.: Qualifying (order based on draw, top 30 locked in the field at end of the day)
So Saturday will lock the top 30 cars into the field and will lock the Top-9 into the coveted Fast Nine Shootout on Sunday.
Now you’re thinking, the Indy 500 starts 33 cars and you’re not wrong champ. Unlike 2018 bumping will be moved to Sunday instead of Saturday. This year Saturday will just be for cars to lock themselves into the Top-30.
- 10:15-10:45 a.m.: Fast Nine Shootout practice
- 10:45-11:15 a.m.: Last Row Shootout practice
- 12:15-1:15 p.m.: Last Row Shootout qualifying (order based on original draw, one attempt per car)
- 1:15-2:15 p.m.: Fast Nine Shootout qualifying (order based on Saturday times, slowest to fastest, one attempt per car)
- 3:15-6 p.m.: Open practice, all 33 qualified cars
Alright so you saw “Last Row Shootout” and now you’re wondering what that means. Starting this year cars qualified 31-however many cars attempt to qualify on Saturday will have a Fast Nine style shootout for the final three spots on Sunday. You want drama, IndyCar/NBC are giving you drama.
Once the final three spots are determined the Fast Nine will then run for pole. Following the conclusion fo that and hour later there will be a 2 hour and 45 minute open practice which is new for 2019. Sunday might be the cheapest ticket in terms of bang for you buck in all of racing.
The new schedule isn’t bad by any means. However can we just pick a format and stick with it? And for the love of god can it not rain for once this year on Saturday?
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