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.

Warmup laps – Each car is permitted two warmup laps prior to the timed qualification laps. Race director may permit additional warmup 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, with the fastest aggregate time earning the pole position.

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


Indianapolis 500 Qualifying

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

Warmup laps – Each car is permitted two warmup laps prior to the timed qualification laps. Race director may permit three warmup laps if deemed 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.

The 2017 Indianapolis 500 qualifying consists of three or four sessions of time trials:

First-day Qualifying, scheduled 11 a.m.- 5:50 p.m. ET Saturday, May 20 – Determines the 33 positions in the provisional field based on the fastest four-lap averages. All entries are guaranteed at least one four-lap attempt to qualify, provided the car is properly and timely presented. No limit on the number of qualifying attempts an entry may make.

Special Session Qualifying, scheduled Sunday, May 21 (if necessary and approved by INDYCAR, time TBD) – If any cars are unable to complete their guaranteed qualifying attempt during first-day qualifying due to a mechanical condition or accident, INDYCAR may approve a special qualifying session involving those cars and an equal number from the rear of the provisional field. For instance, if three cars were unable to complete their guaranteed attempt on the first day, with approval from INDYCAR, they would be permitted one attempt in the special session along with the three slowest cars from the provisional field. The fastest qualifiers in this session would determine the final three starting positions for the race.

Group 1 Qualifying, scheduled 2-4:30 p.m. ET Sunday, May 21 – Each entry in Group 1 must make one four-lap attempt, in reverse order of qualified positions from the previous day. The fastest qualifier in this session would earn the 10th starting position down to the slowest starting 33rd (barring any special session to determine starting positions at the rear of the field).

Fast Nine Shootout, scheduled for 5-5:45 p.m. ET Sunday, May 21 – The fastest nine cars from first-day qualifying will run in reverse order based on first-day times. Each car receives one guaranteed qualifying attempt, provided the car is properly and timely presented. At the end of the session, the cars are ranked 1-9 based on their four-lap average during the segment. The Indianapolis 500 pole winner is determined by the fastest qualifier in this session.


Road/Street Course Qualifying

Qualifying is broken into three segments, progressively narrowing the field to determine the pole winner. Segment 1 is broken into two groups determined by the top time posted by each car in the final practice session before qualifying.

Segment 1 – Each of the two groups receives 10 minutes of track time, inclusive of full-course caution conditions, with the fastest lap by each car determining its qualifying position. The fastest six cars from each group advance to Segment 2, while the remaining cars are assigned positions 13 and back to the rear of the grid. Group 1 drivers occupy the odd-numbered positions (13, 15, 17, etc.), while Group 2 drivers occupy the even-numbered positions (14, 16, 18, etc.) based on their fastest lap times during the segment.

Segment 2 – The 12 advancing cars receive 10 minutes of track time, inclusive of full-course caution conditions, with the fastest lap by each entry determining its qualifying position. 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.

Failure to complete all qualifying segments – If conditions prevent completion of all segments of road/street course qualifying, the starting grid will be set according to the last completed segment. The driver recording the fastest time in the last fully completed segment will be awarded the pole position with the remainder of drivers in that group filling the odd-numbered starting positions by lap time rank and the even numbered starting positions filled by lap time rank from the other group. If no segments are completed, the starting grid will be set by entrant points entering the event or, for the first race of the season, by entrant points at the conclusion of 2016.

Cautions – If a car causes a red-flag condition in any segment or otherwise interferes with qualifications as determined by INDYCAR, the car’s best two timed laps of the segment will be disallowed and the car shall not be allowed to advance to the next segment. If a car causes two red-flag conditions in one or more segments or otherwise interferes with qualifications as determined by INDYCAR, all segment times shall be voided and the car shall not be permitted to participate in the remainder of qualifying. If a car causes a yellow-flag condition that interferes with the attempt of another car, the violating car’s best lap during that segment will be disallowed. If the violation occurs during the Firestone Fast Six, all of the car’s laps in that segment shall be voided and the car not permitted to continue in the session.

Doubleheader Race Qualifying – For the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix doubleheader in June, qualifying sessions for each race will see the field divided into two groups based on practice times, with 12 minutes of track time allotted for each qualifying group (with five minutes of guaranteed green-flag time). Qualifying groups for Belle Isle will be based on best lap times from the practice session immediately preceding Race 1 qualifications. If a car causes a red-flag situation during a qualifying session, its best two timed laps will be disallowed and it will not be permitted to continue in the session. One driver and entrant championship point will be awarded to the fastest car in each qualifying group on both days. group will be ranked in the odd-numbere starting positions, starting with position three. Even-numbered starting positions will be determined from the other group, starting with position two.

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.