When the 103rd Edition of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge will be run in May 2019, there will be new rules in the qualifying in place.
There are only 33 starting spots in the Indy 500, but there are unlimited space in the qualifying, where the series encourage teams and drivers to bring as many possible, so there will be a fight for the 33 cars.
There were just 33 cars for many seasons, but there was a real Bump Day drama in 2018. That cost the participation in the race for Pippa Mann and James Hinchcliffe in the 2018 edition, which was dramatic even before the race.
About 36 cars are expected for the qualifying this year, and those cars will go through a new procedure.
The qualifying, which will be run on Saturday 18 May, will still consist of a series of 4 laps for each driver. If a driver wants another try, the car can be put back in line, while you lose your earlier qualifying time, but will have the chance of getting a better time – or perhaps even worse.
The drivers will have 6 hours and 50 minutes to do all the laps they want – when it’s their time to go onto the track. On 5.50PM exactly, the field will be locked, and the first 9 goes into the Fast Nine Shootout, which is run on the Sunday. That part will be done like in the previous years, where everybody inside the 9 has the possibility to go for Pole Position – with each driver having one go each.
Position 10 to 30 is locked for the race, and will not be running further in the weekend.
Position 31 and downwards will go back on the track on the Sunday, where each driver gets one shot at the qualifying. They will fight for the final row in the race – i.e. 31., 32, and 33.
The changes is to make it more drama to the Sunday. Traditionally, it was just the 9 x 4 laps, with the rest of the day being used just for practice.
There is of course a need for 33 cars to be there, for actual bumping to happen.
The Indianapolis 500 2019 will be run on 26 May.