INDY RACING LEAGUE ANNOUNCES INCENTIVES FOR 1996 PARTICIPANTS
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (July 3, 1995) - SpeedNet -- A press release was issued today by the Indy Racing League (IRL), detailing qualifying and prize money incentives for the five-race Indy car racing series set to debut in 1996.
As Formula One racing moves towards excluding slow competitors, the new Indy-type racing series takes aims in the opposite direction. New IRL regulations "guarantee" regular IRL competitors places in race starting lineups, and with a considerable amount of "guaranteed" prize money.
"You will still have to show up and go fast," commented Jack Long, executive director of the IRL in the press release. "No specific spots are protected, so the pole position will be open and the field will line up in an order determined by qualifying speed, (but) there will be cars that cannot be bumped (off the starting grid) once they make the field."
Disclosed by Long, the outlined incentives include, and I quote again, "(for) 500-mile races, the top 25 IRL series car owner points leaders will be guaranteed a position in the 33-car starting lineup upon the completion of an official qualifying attempt. In events less than 500 miles, the qualifying incentive will apply to 75 percent of the starting field (e.g., 18 cars in a 24-car lineup)."
Tony George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and IRL founder, is especially excited about the prospect of non-IRL competitors fighting for starting spots.
"IMS is happy with this format because it develops much-needed continuity with our event and the series. I am particularly happy as well because this format preserves for the fans those traditional entertainment elements of the fastest qualifier on the pole and the drama of bumping on the final day of qualifying.
A minimum $22,000 in prize money will be awarded to each IRL series car owner (e.g., IRL points competitor) upon qualifying for each of the five races.
The good news for non IRL season competitors is a guaranteed minimum of $10,000 for starting a race, from a guaranteed minimum purse of $1 million for each race, to be distributed throughout the field. Also, no membership or franchise fee will be required to participate in IRL series events.
The press release also included the series schedule, and a note that all races are (still) scheduled to be broadcast live by ABC Sports.
1996 IRL SCHEDULE
Saturday, January 27 Indy 200 at Walt Disney World, ORlando, FL
Sunday, March 24 Phoenix 200 at PIR, Phoenix, AZ
Sunday, May 26 Indianapolis 500, Indianapolis, IN
Sunday, August 18 New England 200, NHIS, Louden, NH
Sunday, September 15 Las Vegas 200, Las Vegas, NV
by Robert Heathcote, for SpeedNet
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