INDYCAR has announced a new qualifying format for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500. The new format will set the 33-car starting lineup in three sessions of time trials over two days on May 17-18, 2014. INDYCAR is hoping the new format will increase the entertainment value alongside fan attendance and television viewership.
“This new format includes two exciting days of on-track action, all culminating on Sunday with the Fast Nine Shootout,” said Mark Miles, CEO, Hulman Motorsports. “Fans get to watch their favorite drivers battle to make the field on Saturday, and then fight for a pole position on Sunday. It will be a great show for fans attending the race and watching the broadcast on ABC.”
The format is as follows:
• Saturday, May 17 (11 a.m.-5:50 p.m. ET)
The fastest 33 cars compose the starting field (but not starting positions).
All entries are guaranteed at least one four-lap attempt to qualify.
The fastest nine entries advance to the Fast Nine Shootout.
• Sunday, May 18 (10:15 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET)
Saturday times are erased and entries 10-33 must complete another four-lap attempt to determine their starting position in order of the slowest to fastest from Saturday times.
• Fast Nine Shootout, Sunday, May 18 (2-2:45 p.m. ET)
Saturday times are erased. Each entry will receive one four-lap attempt in the order of the slowest to the fastest from Saturday times. Aggregate times will determine the Verizon P1 Award winner and top three rows.
The qualifying results on Saturday and Sunday will include new points incentives to be announced later.
“There is an enormous amount of talent in the field this year, which so far includes five former Indianapolis 500 champions,” said Derrick Walker, INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations. “The new format presents an additional challenge to drivers who have one chance to make the field on Saturday, and start over again on Sunday to determine their starting position.”
ABC will provide live coverage of qualifications from 4-6 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, May 17, and 1-3 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, May 18, alongside broadcasting the 200-lap event on Sunday, May 25. ESPN3 will provide coverage for additional hours with the full details being announced later.
“Down through history, qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 has made for many dramatic and compelling television moments, and we’re confident that the leadership of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and INDYCAR will continue that tradition with this new format. We look forward to bringing it all to our viewers in May,” said Rich Feinberg, ESPN vice president, motorsports, production.