With more than 33 cars entered for the Indianapolis 500, bumping will take place during the month of May. Although there’s only one car to cleave from the field of potential race participants, there is a need to cut the 34 entries down to 33,
“We know how much our loyal fans love the ‘race within the race’ to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, and bumping will add even more drama this year,” IMS President Doug Boles said. “We can’t wait to see the cars trimmed out for maximum speed in two of the most pressure-packed days in global motorsports, setting the field for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500.”
And so, with more cars than openings on the grid than the 11 rows of three will accommodate, the upcoming schedule for the opening week of activities at the Indy 500 will make use of the full set of qualifying procedures. To prepare for the busy weekend of time trials, the series produced a primer for fans to follow:
DAY ONE: Saturday, May 20 (all times Eastern):
11 a.m.-5:50 p.m.: Full Field Qualifying (Live on Peacock, also 2:30-4:30 p.m. on NBC)
Qualifying will take place for positions 1-30. Positions 13-30 will be set, and those drivers will not requalify Sunday.
When every car in the qualifying order for Saturday has been presented at least one chance to qualify, teams may choose from two lanes for second and subsequent attempts. Cars in the priority lane (Lane 1) must withdraw their qualified time — if the car has one — but get priority access to the track ahead of Lane 2. Lane 2 is for cars that have already qualified but wish to improve their position.
Once cars are outside of the Top 30, they are considered to not have a qualification speed as only positions 1-30 will be locked in during Day One.
DAY TWO: Sunday, May 21
2-3 p.m.: Top 12 Qualifying (Live on Peacock)
Positions 7-12 will be determined. The order is based on Saturday times, slowest to fastest. Each car is guaranteed one attempt. The fastest six advance to the Firestone Fast Six to determine positions 1-6.
4-5 p.m.: Last Chance Qualifying (Live on NBC)
Positions 31-33 will be determined. Each car is guaranteed one attempt and may make multiple attempts until time expires. Each car’s most recent qualification speed will remain eligible for the starting lineup until the time is withdrawn or qualifications end.
5:15-5:45 p.m.: Firestone Fast Six (Live on NBC)
Positions 1-6 will be determined. The order is based on times from Top 12 Qualifying earlier Sunday, slowest to fastest. Each car is guaranteed one attempt. The fastest driver in the Firestone Fast Six will earn the coveted NTT P1 Award for pole.