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Rain has really fouled up things at Indianapolis and the crunch is on because with qualifying for the 94th Indianapolis 500 has been condensed down to only 2 days from 2 weeks that included close to a month’s worth of practise ahead of it.
Any and all track time is extremely precious, there just isn’t a lot of it to be had.
The new qualifying format starts Saturday the 22nd at 11 AM on Pole Day.
Right now Indianapolis is on Eastern time as we are.
Qualifying features a 90-minute battle for the pole amongst the nine fastest drivers, with $175,000 going to the pole winner plus IndyCar Series championship points for all 33 starters.
The first 24 spots on the grid will be up for grabs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. ET, with each car having up to 3 four-lap qualifying attempts during that period.
At 4 p.m, the times of the 9 fastest drivers will be erased and they will engage in a shootout from 4:30-6 p.m.
Each of the “Fast Nine” must make at least one four-lap qualifying attempt in that time frame, and will have one additional attempt if time permits.
Their positions in the first three rows will be determined by their times in the 90-minute session.
Bump Day, Sunday May 23, will fill the final nine starting positions through regular four-lap qualifying from Noon-6 p.m, with bumping beginning once all 33 spots have been filled.
In addition to the pole winner banking 175 GR, the other front row starters will get decent money as well.
Second place will net $75,000 and third place is worth $50,000.
There will be a pair if Canadians trying to make the field.
Toronto’s Paul Tracy who got jobbed by the IRL in 2002, as they claimed he passed Helio Castroneves under yellow when the video showed that was not the case, is trimmed down and determined to right the wrong.
This year PT’s KV Racing/Vasser effort will be anchored by special guest race strategist Barry Green, who called the shots for Paul in the 2002 500, and won it in ’95 with another Canadian Jacques Villeneuve.
The Aussie works very well with Canuck drivers.
Montreal’s Alex Tagliani is teamed with Bruno Junquira this year, the man who turned his car over to Tag when Alex didn’t make the show last year.
Alex’s FAZZT Team has a chance of showing well, despite the fact Tag is battling a lung infection. Cough! Cough!
And there are 5 female drivers entered for the first time in Indy 500 history: Danica Patrick, Mika Duno, Sarah Fisher, Simona DeSilvestro, and Ana Beatriz.
Somewhere Mary Hulman is smiling down, and Janet Guthrie and Lynn St. James are goin’… yes!
Danica has the best chance, no playdoh, and is always at the Brickyard dance. She’s never qualified out of the top 10 and has finished in the top 10 in 4 of her last 5 Indy 500 starts.
We have a BIG Indy 500 preview special planned for next week ( May 23rd) on Raceline Radio on The FAN 590 featuring: Paul Tracy, Barry Green, Jimmy Vasser, Alex Tagliani, Danica Patrick and special guest, 4-time Indy 500 winner, and record 6-time pole sitter Rick Mears!
There ain’t NOTHIN’ like the Indianapolis 500!
I’ve been to 4 of them.
To me it’s the ultimate motorsport contest, even after all the political wounding.
Until next time…