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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]
Ed Carpenter on track at Iowa (Photo by Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, races to a third-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, takes over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon won the pole and finished in fourth-place. Kanaan led for most of the race and finished third. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, took over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan lead the pack at the start of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Incident between Mikhail Aleshin and Takuma Sato bring out the first yellow flag of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Incident between Mikhail Aleshin and Takuma Sato bring out the first yellow flag of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan leads the field during the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The #28 Andretti Autosport team celebrates victory (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay gets a new ride (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The podium after the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The podium after the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay with the winner`s trophy (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)

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