IRL: Indy 500 new qualifying format announced

New Qualifying Format To Enhance Drama, Competition at Indy INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2004 -- An exciting new qualifying procedure for the Indianapolis 500 will create even more drama and excitement for drivers, teams and fans while ...

New Qualifying Format To Enhance Drama, Competition at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2004 -- An exciting new qualifying procedure for the Indianapolis 500 will create even more drama and excitement for drivers, teams and fans while returning qualifying to its traditional four-day format, Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials said Sept. 14.

The new format will debut during the 89th Indianapolis 500 in May 2005. MBNA Pole Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 14, with Second Day Qualifying on Sunday, May 15, Third Day Qualifying on Saturday, May 21 and Bump Day on Sunday, May 22.

Among the highlights of the new format is the potential for cars being "bumped" out of the starting field by faster cars each of the four days of qualifying.

"We think this new qualifying format is exciting for everyone involved with the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing,'" said Tony George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and CEO. "It will provide even more drama and competition on each day.

"Qualifying formats for the Indianapolis 500 have evolved throughout the years since the lineup for the first race in 1911 was determined by the dates when entries were received, and we're confident this new system honors the tradition of four days of qualifying at Indy while introducing some new elements to the event."

Here's a look at each of the four days of qualifying in the new format in 2005. Qualifying speeds will continue to be determined by the overall time and average speed for four laps around the historic 2.5-mile oval:

* MBNA Pole Day, Saturday, May 14: Positions one through 11 in the 33-car field are available to the fastest 11 qualifiers that day. Once the 11 spots are full, bumping will occur for the rest of the day to determine the MBNA Pole and the fastest 11 qualifiers for that day.

* Second Day Qualifying, Sunday, May 15: Positions 12 through 22 are available. Once those spots are full, bumping will occur only in spots 12 through 22 for the rest of the day to determine the fastest 11 qualifiers for that day.

* Third Day Qualifying, Saturday, May 21: Positions 23 through 33 are available. Once those spots are full, bumping will occur only in spots 23-33 for the rest of the day to determine the fastest 11 qualifiers for that day.

* Bump Day, Sunday, May 22: Any qualifying attempt on the fourth day that is faster than a qualified entrant in the 33 positions in the starting field will bump the slowest qualifier from the field, regardless of the day of qualification. The "bumped" entrant will be removed from the field of 33, and the remaining field will move ahead one position in the starting field as the newly qualified entrant will take the 33rd position, or a higher position if faster than the other fourth-day qualifiers.

Each car, primary or backup, will have three attempts per day to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. If a car is bumped on any day of qualifications, that entrant can re-enter the qualification line and attempt to re-qualify based on the numbers of attempts remaining for that car.

Entrants also can still withdraw qualified cars from the field at their choice, but that car still will be allowed to make qualifying attempts based on the number of attempts it has remaining for the day. The car does not have to be removed from competition, as in previous formats.

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2005 tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 89th Indianapolis 500, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.

-ims-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony George