Fan Info - INDYCAR 101 - Understanding The Sport - Qualifying Procedures

Qualifying Procedures

Oval Qualifying
(excluding the Indianapolis 500)

Order – Qualifying order is determined by a blind draw conducted on set-up day.

Warm-up laps – Each car is permitted two warm-up laps prior to the timed qualification laps. Race director may permit additional warm-up laps if deemed necessary.

Green flag laps – A qualification attempt consists of two consecutively timed laps. The aggregate time is recorded as the official qualifying time for the car.

Missed attempts – Each car is permitted to leave the staging pit one time only.

Road/Street Courses

Practice – All cars participate in practice sessions on the first day of track activity. At the end of the day, drivers will be assigned to one of two groups based on the combined practice times on the day prior to qualifications. The driver with the fastest overall time will determine whether his group will qualify first or second.

Qualifying – Qualifying is broken down into three segments, progressively narrowing the field to determine the pole winner.

Segment One – Each of the two groups receives 10 minutes of track time, inclusive of full-course yellow conditions. The fastest six cars from each group advance to Segment Two, while the remaining cars are assigned positions 13+. Group One drivers occupy the odd-numbered positions (13, 15, 17...) while Group Two drivers occupy the even-numbered positions (14, 16, 18...) based on their fastest lap times during the segment.

Segment Two –The 12 advancing cars receive 10 minutes of track time. The fastest six advance to the Firestone Fast Six Shootout while the remaining six cars are ranked in positions 7-12 based on their fastest laps during the segment.

Firestone Fast Six –The six advancing cars receive 10 minutes of track time, with a guarantee of five minutes of green flag time. Each car receives one additional set of Firestone Firehawk tires for use during this final segment. At the end of the session, the cars are ranked 1-6 based on their fastest laps during the segment.

Cautions – If a car causes a red or full course yellow condition in any segment or otherwise interferes with qualifications as determined by the Race Director, the car’s best two timed laps of the segment will be disallowed. An interfering car will not be allowed to advance to the next segment. If a car causes two red or full course yellow conditions in any segment, all segment times shall be voided and the car shall not be permitted to participate in the remainder of qualifying.

Doubleheader Race 2 Qualifying – Qualifying shall consist of two 12-minute sessions with cars split into the same two groups from Race #1 with even numbered cars from the combined practice assigned to Group 1. The pole position will be awarded to the best overall lap time in the qualifying sessions. The remainder of the cars in that group will be ranked in the odd numbered positions, starting with position three (3). Even numbered starting positions will be determined from the other group, starting with position two (2).

Ties (all courses)

In the event two or more cars post identical qualification times, the cars will be ranked in the order in which the completed qualification attempts occurred.

“Earned” Poles

A pole is considered “earned” for statistical purposes when it is based on on-track performance at a particular track. When qualifying is cancelled and a pole is awarded based on points, as it will be in 2012, it is not considered a pole for statistical purposes. When qualifying was cancelled and a pole was awarded based on practice speeds, as it had been in some previous seasons, it is considered an “earned” pole.



Indianapolis 500 Qualification Procedures

Order – A blind draw is conducted prior to each qualification day.

Warm-up laps – Each car is permitted two warm-up laps prior to the timed qualification laps. IndyCar Series officials may permit three warm-up laps if they deem it necessary.

Green-flag laps – A qualification attempt consists of four timed laps. The aggregate time is recorded as the official qualifying time for the car.

Beginning in 2014, qualifying will be enhanced with three sessions of time trials over two eventful days:

Saturday Qualifying – Held from 11 a.m.-5:50 p.m. to determine the all 33 positions in the field based on the fastest four-lap averages. All entries are guaranteed at least one four-lap attempt to qualify. The fastest nine entries advance to the Fast Nine Shootout..

Sunday Qualifying – Held from 10:15 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET, to determine positions 10-33 in the field based on fastest four-lap average. All times from Saturday are erased and cars will run in reverse order based on Segment 1 speeds. All cars must complete another four-lap attempt to determine their starting position.

Fast Nine Shootout – Held from 2-2:45 p.m. ET, the top nine cars will run in reverse order based on Saturday’s times. All cars are required to make at least one attempt. At the end of the session, the cars are ranked 1-9 based on their four-lap average during the segment.