How Indy 500 qualifying works as a set grid for the 2022 race run
It’s qualifying weekend in Indianapolis as the Indy 500 grid is set for the 106th running of the big race – but what’s different about how sessions work in 2022?
May at Indy is now well underway after the IMS Grand Prix on the road course and the glut of practice sessions leading up to qualifying and the race.
It won’t be until Sunday, May 29, that the green flag for the 2022 Indianapolis 500 will drop and send all 33 cars into Turn 1, but before that their order must be set.
Qualifying for the 2022 Indy 500 is working a little differently than years past with some minor tweaks to the format – but how exactly will it work?
How Indy 500 qualifying works in 2022
The only thing guaranteed about Indy 500 qualifying is that each race entrant is allowed a four-lap race on the speedway.
The grid at Indy is limited to 33 starters – with most having to go through what’s called “Bump Day.”
However, in 2022 there is the maximum number of 33 riders, so there is no need for Bump Day – where Fernando Alonso was famously knocked out in 2019 and couldn’t make it to race day.
Once each car has completed its four-lap race, the tentative order is set and the teams begin to make a choice on what to do.
If, for example, Will Power is unhappy with his time, he can enter lane 1 in the pit lane and have priority access to the track – but he will lose the course his #12 would have already completed.
This carries the risk that the new time will be slower than the old – but Power would be stuck with it.
Lane 2 is a standard lane that allows drivers access to the track at the next available opportunity.
If they post a lower average over their four-lap race than before, the old time and position stand.
While the Indy 500 qualifying Saturday remains unchanged, the Sunday operation has been changed slightly for 2022.
Slightly modified pole fight
In the past, Saturday qualifying set the grid for positions 10-33, with the top nine going for pole position.
The last line of the three-wide grid is to be decided on Sunday morning.
In 2022, the top 12 will advance to the second stage – the Firestone Fast 12.
Once all 12 drivers have completed their laps, the fastest six will qualify for pole position.
The Fast Six will set the grid for the first two rows and decide who will lead the field into Turn 1 once the green flag drops.
Saturday’s qualifying session begins at 12 p.m. ET, with Sunday’s track action underway at 2 p.m. with the last chance session.
The Fast 12 is scheduled for a green flag at 4 p.m. ET, with the final fight for pole position at 5:10 p.m. ET.
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