CHAMPCAR/CART: Series announces special qualifying format

Champ Car World Series Announces Special Qualifying Format To Be Used For Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix INDIANAPOLIS (May 13, 2004) -- In the ongoing quest to provide the best racing for its millions of fans around the world, the ...

Champ Car World Series Announces Special Qualifying Format To Be Used For Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix

INDIANAPOLIS (May 13, 2004) -- In the ongoing quest to provide the best racing for its millions of fans around the world, the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford is implementing a new qualifying procedure for next week's Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, a format that guarantees that fans watching both at Fundidora Park and on television will have non-stop action every time that the Champ Cars are on track.

The special format will continue to feature sessions on Friday and Saturday, with championship points up for grabs on each of the two days. The idea behind the new format is to avoid periods of inactivity during Champ Car qualifying sessions and provide more action for the fans.

Drivers will be split into two groups determined by a random draw for Friday's session with each group running for 15 minutes with a guaranteed 10 minutes of green flag action with no lap limitations on the drivers. After the two 15-minute sessions, the fastest five drivers in each session will move on to a final 15-minute segment to battle for the day's championship point.

All previous times will be erased, with the times in the final session setting the top-10 grid positions for first-day qualifying. The rest of the field would be set provisionally by using the first-session times. The leader of the final Friday session would receive a championship point, but would not be guaranteed a front-row starting spot as was the case last season. The driver will however, be guaranteed a spot in the final Pole Shootout session on Saturday.

Saturday will see a different format again, with all 18 drivers participating in a 30-minute session with 20 minutes of guaranteed green flag time. There will again be no limit on the number of laps that a driver may run during the 30-minute session. The top nine drivers plus the fastest driver from Friday -- or the fastest 10 from the first session if the Friday leader is among them -- will then participate in a Pole Shootout, in which each driver will get seven laps to attempt to earn the pole. As is the case on Friday, all drivers in the Pole Shootout will have their times erased and will have their final qualifying positions determined by those seven laps.

Final grid positions 11-18 will be set using the times from the first Saturday session, with the top 10 coming from the second session times. The penalties for causing a red flag will be slightly modified, as the driver that causes a red flag in qualifying will still lose his fastest lap but will not have to serve an additional time penalty.

"We are constantly looking for ways to make our racing more exciting for the many fans that show up at Champ Car races," said Senior Vice-President of Operations John Lopes. "We believe that this new format will provide intense, hard-fought action for our fans and create drama during both of the two days of qualifying. We are especially excited to try this new format for the benefit of our Mexican fans that come out and support Champ Car so strongly."

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Series IndyCar