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Iowa qualifying format finalised

IndyCar have confirmed the one-off trial of a new qualifying format for the series for use at Iowa Speedway later this month, involving three heat races.
Qualifying for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway later this month will have a strikingly new look, as IZOD IndyCar Series officials confirmed the innovative system that they would be using three heat races to set the starting grid for the main race itself.

Currently, oval race starting grids are normally set by straightforward time trials set by cars going out one-by-one in a pre-determined order and setting the fastest time they can over a two-lap run.

However, in terms of spectator excitement, such qualifying compared unfavourably with the system used for road and street course events. Like F1 qualifying, this format involves drivers seeking to progress through various rounds during limited-time free-for-all track runs, until the final round serves as a pole position shootout.

“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,” said IndyCar's president of competition Beaux Barfield. "We looked at heat races as something that could add excitement to our races and just improve the product."

“With the new car and the heat races, fans who attend the Iowa Corn Indy 250 weekend will get racing on both days," added Iowa Speedway president Stan Clement.

IndyCar announced in mid-February that they would use the Iowa event for some experimentation to see whether it was possible to devise a new qualifying system that was as successful as the street/road course revamp, and this week IndyCar's president of competition Beaux Barfield confirmed how it would run - with a slight tweak on the original announced format.

To start with, there will be two practice sessions on Friday, June 22 - an hour-long one in the morning and another 30-minute session in the afternoon - with the final combined times at the end of the day helping to set the various heats in qualifying, which will take place on Friday evening under floodlights.

The first of the three 30-lap qualifying heats will consist of those cars from tenth position down in the even number positions in the combined practice timesheets. The order at the chequered flag will set positions tenth, 12th, 14th etc on the grid for the Iowa Corn Indy 250.

The second will consist of those cars in the odd-numbered positions from ninth place down with the order finalising those positions (ninth, 11th, 13th, etc.) on the starting grid.



Tagged as: qualifying , Iowa , Beaux Barfield , heats

Related Pictures

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Marco Andretti leads Tony Kanaan in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway. [Photo credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media]
James Hinchcliffe during practice prior to Qualifying for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (Photo by: Leigh Spargur)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start on the outside of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pagenaud will be joined in the front row by by polestar Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest for the May 24 race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies second-fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start in the middle of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Power will be joined in the front row by pole sitter Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates after qualifying fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon after winning P1 at IMS for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon after winning P1 at IMS for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon after winning P1 at IMS for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon after winning P1 at IMS for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Buddy Lazier following qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon leaves for his qualifying run for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon wins pole for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon wins pole for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Doug Mathews for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon car after winning pole for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ed Carpenter. Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Sunday May 17 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ed Carpenter gets ready on pit lane. Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Sunday May 17 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Mark Miles and Derrick Walker speak with the media regarding qualifying changes. Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Sunday May 17 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)

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