INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis 500 qualifications regulations state that each entry receives one “guaranteed attempt” to qualify for the race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s famed oval.
What exactly constitutes a guaranteed attempt?
A guaranteed attempt begins when a car enters the technical inspection line at the fuel depot in Gasoline Alley by the time INDYCAR has designated. Under today’s revised schedule that has qualifying tentatively starting at 1 p.m. ET, the first half of the qualifying order must present itself in the tech line by 12:15 p.m. and the second half by 12:45 pm.
A car must take on at least three gallons of Sunoco E85R ethanol at the depot before going through the technical inspection garage. Once a car passes tech, it must remain in line until it reaches the head of the line at pit out on pit lane. The only changes to the car permitted while in the line are adjustments to front and rear wing angles and to tire pressures.
When the car reaches the head of the qualifying line, it may make its attempt when signaled to by race officials. Teams also have the option to pull out of line. In either case, the guaranteed attempt is satisfied at this time whether the car makes the attempt or not.
A car’s qualification attempt begins the second time by the start-finish line (unless otherwise stated by the race director due to weather conditions), but only begins when a designated team representative waves the green flag in pit lane to signal the flag stand to start the run.
The qualifying attempt consists of four consecutive timed laps around the 2.5-mile oval. Cars may accept the time by taking the checkered flag at the completion of the four laps or not accept it by waving off the attempt prior to taking the checkered flag.
Once all cars in the original qualifying line receive their guaranteed attempt, the track is available for cars to make unlimited additional qualifying attempts to better their time or to post an initial qualifying time.
If a car has not posted a qualifying time, it goes into Lane 1 (the priority lane) to make an attempt. If a car has posted a qualifying time, it may opt to withdraw its time and enter Lane 1 to requalify or keep its time and enter Lane 2. If a car qualifying from Lane 2 posts a faster time, it accepts that time. If the time is slower than the original time, the original time stands for the car.
At the conclusion of qualifying today, the fastest nine qualifiers are locked into Sunday’s Fast Nine Shootout for the Verizon P1 Award and $100,000 that go to the pole winner, as well as the rest of the first three rows of starting positions for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Those not reaching the fast nine today move on to Group 1 qualifying Sunday to determine race starting positions 10-33.