INDIANAPOLIS – Pride, money and all-important championship points are on the line today in Armed Forces Pole Day qualifying for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Nine drivers will compete in the Fast Nine Shootout from 5-5:45 p.m. ET to determine who will start from the pole position in the epic race on May 29. The Verizon P1 Award winner will also pocket $100,000. Each car makes one four-lap qualifying attempt around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, with race starting positions 1-9 determined by the results.
The nine who advance to the Fast Nine Shootout in first-day qualifying Saturday include just one previous Indy 500 pole winner – Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves, who has accomplished the feat four times – and is split between five Honda-powered and four Chevrolet-powered drivers.
James Hinchcliffe was fastest in frantic first-day qualifying with a four-lap run at 230.946 in the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda. He will be the last to qualify in the Fast Nine Shootout today since the order is based on the reverse order of Saturday’s times.
Prior to that, the drivers who qualified 10th to 33rd Saturday will take to the track again in Group 1 qualifying from 2:45-4:45 p.m. Again, they will run in reverse order of the times posted Saturday. Three drivers without qualifying times from Saturday – Pippa Mann, Gabby Chaves and Max Chilton – will be the first to make attempts in Group 1.
Verizon IndyCar Series championship points are awarded based on the results of today’s qualifying. The pole winner earns 42 points and second fastest nets 40, with points awarded dropping in two-point increments down to 24 for 10th fastest today and then falling in one-point increments to a single point earned for qualifying 33rd.
A final practice precedes qualifying, broken into groups based on Saturday qualifying. Positions 22-33 practice from noon-12:30 p.m., positions 10-21 from 12:45-1:15 p.m. and the fast nine from 1:30-2 p.m.
Qualifying coverage will be split today between ESPN3 (2:30-4 p.m.) and ABC (4-6 p.m.), with the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network airing complete coverage.
Following qualifying today, two final practice sessions are available to the Indy 500 competitors, from 12:30-4 p.m. Monday and in the traditional Miller Lite Carb Day practice from 11 a.m.-noon Friday. The historic 100th Indianapolis 500 is set for May 29 with coverage beginning at 11 a.m. on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.