This year, qualifying for the Indy 500 will look a little different. Saturday will no longer be Pole Day and Sunday will no longer be Bump Day.
Instead, Saturday will be dedicated to locking in the top thirty drivers for the Indy 500. On top of that, the top nine will be set for the pole shootout that will occur on Sunday. The fastest driver on Saturday will receive thirty-three points towards the championship. There will also be two lines on Saturday to help speed up qualifying. Line one will be for those who have yet to qualify or have withdrawn their times. Line two will be for those who have already qualified but want to make another attempt and have not withdrawn their time. Priority will be given to line one. Then, on Sunday, drivers not within the top nine will have their times from the previous day erased and will be fighting for positions ten through thirty-three. However, those who do not qualify on Saturday due to a crash or being a late entry on Saturday night or are not fast enough the previous day can only fight for positions thirty-one through thirty-three. Those who make it to the Fast Nine Shootout will also be fighting for $100,000, an additional nine points towards the championship, and prime pit position for the race on top of going for the pole.
Anyone else confused just yet? I’m sure it’ll make more sense as it’s actually happening as that’s always what happens when something changes, but it’s hard to wrap your head around changes if you’re only reading about them. That’s how it is for me, at least. However, I’m keeping an open mind about it. I’m excited to see how the changed qualifying goes. I think it has the potential to be just as good as the old qualifying.
Here’s to trying new things in the month of May!