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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]
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Sage Karam, driver of the #8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his third-place finish Saturday, July 18, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Wichita State University CFH Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates his second-place finish Saturday, July 18, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sage Karam, driver of the #8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a third-place finish Saturday, July 18, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Wichita State University CFH Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, races to a second-place finish Saturday, July 18, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay takes the twin checkers to win the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves crosses the start/finish line during practice for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves affixes the Verizon P1 Award emblem as the pole winner for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves with the Verizon P1 Award trophy as the pole winner for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates with the Verizon P1 Award trophy as the pole winner for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan chats with teammate Scott Dixon during qualifications for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates on pit lane following his pole-winning effort for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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