Jay Frye, IndyCar’s president of competition and operations, is considering an overhaul of the qualifying points system at the Indianapolis 500.
At the moment, the polesitter at Indy earns 42 points, second fastest receives 40 points and it decreases in two-point increments down to 10th fastest (24 points). Eleventh fastest takes home 23 points and each succeeding qualifying position decreases in one-point increments down to a point for 33rd on the grid.
By contrast, the polesitter at any other race earns just one point. Another way to look at it is that second place on the grid at Indy is currently worth the same as finishing the race in second at any other event in the IndyCar Series. That huge discrepancy is something that Frye admits he is not happy with.
“With qualifying points so high, and then double-points in the race, you’re offering two-and-a-half times our regular points,” he told Motorsport.com, “and the thing is, I don’t think Indy needs that.
“So there’s a time and a place for evaluating different options, and that’s what’s going on right now. It’s a work in progress.”
The double-points at Indianapolis has grudgingly been accepted by drivers over the years, but IndyCar faces regular criticism for artificially keeping the championship alive by offering double points in the season finale as well as for the extraordinary points distribution in Indy qualifying.
However, Frye implied there are also advocates for maintaining the current system, commenting: “It’s a polarizing topic, I must say. I have a personal opinion on it and I’m kinda old school. But I know there are a lot of elements that go into it, and I understand the opposing arguments.
“So, honestly, I’m working diligently to decide how to do it. I’ve come up with a few different ideas the past couple of years for qualifying and people present X, Y or Z scenarios as counter-arguments.”