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Indianapolis 500
Qualifying Rules
as of 2014

A new point system for qualifying was created in

On Saturday, the first day of qualifying, 33 points
will be awarded to the fastest qualifier down to one
point for 33rd.

On Sunday, the 2nd day of qualifying, nine points
will be awarded to the Pole winner down to one
point for ninth in the Fast Nine Shootout.

A driver/entrant that sweeps both the top spot in
both sessions will have 42 points deposited in the
full-season championship before starting the race.

(The winner of the Indy 500 gets 100 points.)

Pits: Pit selection for the race -- an important and
prized commodity -- will be reflective of starting
position determined May 18.

Prestige: The Verizon P1 Award winner will
received a $100,000 bonus in addition to the
championship points accrued over the two days.
The other front-row starters will earn $30,000
(second) and $25,000 (third). Team owner/driver
Ed Carpenter won the pole in 2013 with a four-lap
average speed of 228.762 mph in the Fast Nine
First Day of Qualifying - The Saturday before race weekend

- The fastest 30 cars on this day will compose the starting field, but not starting positions.
- All entries are guaranteed one attempt to qualify between 11 a.m. and 5:50 p.m.
- Once the qualifying session ends, the top 30 cars are locked in to the field.
- However, all 33 cars must re-qualify on Sunday to determine final starting positions.
- The fastest nine cars advance to a shootout on Sunday to determine the Pole Award.

Qualifying lines:
There will be two qualifying lines at the end of pit lane:

Line 1: Cars that are unqualified or have withdrawn their previous qualifying times. Priority will be given to this lane.
Line 2: Cars that have already qualified but want another attempt and have not withdrawn their previous qualifying times.

- Multiple attempts are permitted without withdrawing a time by entering Line 2.
- Teams can withdraw their time and enter Line 1, which will have priority over cars already in the field.
- Teams that make multiple attempts can only improve their times if they have not withdrawn their time to enter Line 2,
meaning, even if a driver records a slower four-lap average, that driver’s previous (faster) time will stand.
Qualifying determines which 33 drivers will compete
in the Indianapolis 500.  It also determines their
starting position on the grid.  Qualifications is also
known as Time Trials.

A race car driver must run four laps around the
2.5-mile oval for a total of 10 miles, to complete a
qualifying run.  A driver qualifies alone on the track
with no other cars in his way or creating a draft.

To determine qualifying order, drivers draw a position
on a first-come first-serve basis the day before the
1st day of qualifying.

Drivers generally will be trying to qualify both their
primary car and a backup (T) car.

The average of their four lap times  is calculated to
determine their qualifying time.

The fastest driver gets to start on the inside of the
front row.  This is known as the pole position.  The
driver who earns this also earns a large cash prize,
currently $100,000.

Unlike any other IndyCar oval race, the Indy 500
features a grid that is 3-cars wide.  The field is also
limited to 33 cars, so there are 11 rows.

Each car must take two warm-up laps. The decision
to take the green to start the attempt or wave off
must be made the second time past the flagstand.

The team owner or designated representative must
raise the green flag to signify the start of a
qualification attempt or the yellow flag will be thrown,
aborting the attempt.

In the not too distant past, two weekends (four days)
were used to qualify.   On the first day of qualifying,
known as Pole Day, the fastest driver won the pole
position.  On the last day of qualifying drivers could
knock other drivers off of the starting grid by
qualifying faster.  This day was known as Bump Day.

Qualifying was shrunk down to one weekend in 2010.

A new qualifying system was implemented in 2014
Turbo Boost Pressure:

The boost level will be increased from 130 kPa to
140 kPa for “Fast Friday” practice and qualifying

The change in pressure adds about a 40-
horsepower boost to the engines.  

The boost level will return to 130 kPa for final
practice on Carb Day and the 500-mile race
Sunday, May 25.
Second Day of Qualifying - The Sunday before race day

Group 1 - Positions 10-33

- All Saturday times are erased and positions 10-30 will re-qualify to determine starting position.
- Order will be the reverse of Saturday’s rankings.
- Lineup will be determined based on fastest four-lap averages.
- In the event that there are only 33 cars entered, this group will determine positions 10-33.

Group 2 (Only used in the event there are more than 33 cars):

- All Saturday times are erased and positions 31-33, and any entry that has yet to make one attempt to qualify,
will re-qualify to determine the 11th row of the race.

Group 3 - The Fast Nine

- The top nine cars will run in reverse order based on Saturday’s times.
- All cars will make one qualifying attempt.
- At the end of the session, the cars are ranked 1-9 based on their four-lap average during the segment, the fastest
winning the pole position
2013 Indy 500 Front Row
(from the left: Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz, Ed Carpenter)
For rules about qualifying for all the other races at the
Indy Speedway, checkout
Speedway Qualifying.