INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Teams and fans are still learning about the news of Indianapolis 500 qualifications.
Unlike in past years, the run for the pole comes on Sunday, but the bulk of the field will be set Saturday. All entries are guaranteed one attempt to qualify between 11 and 5:50, and based on the four-lap average time, the provisional field will be set.
Teams can make multiple attempts, but once qualifying ends, the top 30 are locked in the field. The Fast 9 Saturday advance to Sunday’s pole shootout.
So what’s the new plan of attack?
“Because the cars are so close to eachother in speed, you can’t take chances, you’ve got to go fast,” says three-time 500 champ Helio Castroneves.
All Saturday, times are erased. Qualifying then comes in three groups Sunday. The slowest three and any late entries compete for the 11th row. The next group re-qualifies to determine positions 10 through 30, and the last group, or Fast 9, will make one attempt in reverse order of Saturday’s time to set the first three rows–the pole shootout.
“I’m all for it,” added Helio. “New changes to make it interesting. So, like I said, I guarantee not many people are going to be sleeping tonight or tomorrow night, so it will be a stressful moment.”
2013 champ Tony Kanaan isn’t so sure.
“I think it’s good for the fans, but it’s still a bit confusing to me,” Kanaan said. “All I know is I’ve got to go fast.”
A good rule of thumb? Watch the Pylon. It now appears there will be some bumping, so there will be drama on both the last row and in the pole shootout on Sunday.