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Iowa starting grid to be set by heats

New IZOD IndyCar Series race director Beaux Barfield has announced a number of changes to qualifying and restart procedures, and hinted more changes may be on the way.
The IZOD IndyCar Series is tweaking some of the procedures relating to qualifying and restarts at certain tracks in 2012, the newly appointed race director Beaux Barfield has announced.

Instead of single-car speed test laps at Iowa Speedway, qualification will instead take the form of three 'heats' of 30 laps each to determine the starting places of all the cars.

The groups for the three heats will be set according to times from the practice session held earlier on the day: the cars in the top ten in practice will race for the top ten grid positions, while the remaining cars will be split into two groups based on whether they had an even- or odd-position in the practice session. The two groups will then compete in heats for grid positions 11, 13, ... and 12, 14, ... accordingly.

It's an attempt to introduce some of the excitement from the successful revamping of road course qualifying procedures, which sees car progress through two rounds of qualifying before finally fighting it out for the front three rows on the grid in the Firestone Fast Six.

"We looked at heat races as something that could add excitement to our races and just improve the product," said Barfield. "The build-up we presently have for the Firestone Fast Six has that excitement and we wanted to do something similar for the oval events, he said, adding that it was "going back to the heritage of short-track racing," Barfield said that "This is the first of a few concepts we're considering."

Qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and the Milwaukee Mile will continue to use the existing system of averaging the speed of a car over two solo laps of the oval.

Barfield also confirmed that the controversial double-file restarts will stay for the majority of races - but offered an olive branch to teams and drivers by declaring that the high-speed ovals on the calendar will revert back to single file restarts.

That means the races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway will all be single-file restarts, a move that will please drivers who complained last year that trying to go two-wide on those tracks was simply too dangerous.

Barfield agreed with them, at least for these circuits: "They were right at sort of a draft and pan-out point in the vicinity of where the pit wall started," he said of the situation at Indianapolis. "If they got forced over there, that's dangerous."




Related Pictures

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Marco Andretti passes Tony Kanaan in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Marco Andretti leads Tony Kanaan in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway. [Photo credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media]
Jack Hawksworth and Marco Andretti crash during a restart attempt. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Takuma Sato in action in qualifying at St Petersburg. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
A restart early in the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday night, October 19 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Alex Tagliani in action during qualifying for the MAVTV 500 2013 season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media.)
Marco Andretti in action during qualifying for the MAVTV 500 2013 season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media.)
Helio Castroneves in action during qualifying for the MAVTV 500 2013 season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media.)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet, qualifies third Friday, October 18, 2013 for Saturday night’s IndyCar finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California. (Photo Credit: Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Auto Club Team Penske Chevrolet, qualified second Friday, October 18, 2013 for Saturday night’s IndyCar finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California. (Photo Credit: Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, celebrates winning the poll position during qualifying Friday, October 18, 2013 for Saturday night’s IndyCar finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California. (Photo Credit: Perry Nelson for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, wins the poll position during qualifying Friday, October 18, 2013 for Saturday night’s IndyCar finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver of the #1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet IndyCar, qualifies eighth Saturday, August 31, 2013 for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Baltimore on the street circuit in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Phillip Abbott for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar, qualifies second Saturday, August 31, 2013 for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Baltimore on the street circuit in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar, qualifies second Saturday, August 31, 2013 for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Baltimore on the street circuit in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar, qualifies second Saturday, August 31, 2013 for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Baltimore on the street circuit in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud in action in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT on Saturday, August 31 2013. (Photo Credit: Brett Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Simona de Silvestro gets airborne in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT on Saturday, August 31 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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