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Indy 500 changing qualifying process for pole position

The changes will have 12 drivers competing for pole on the second day of qualifying.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — The race for pole position is going to be even more exciting and challenging this year for the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500.

The changes will be for qualifying on May 21 and 22. Day one will run as normal, but day two will have two rounds of qualifying to decide the first four rows, including pole position.

Starting in reverse order of speeds based on day one, each of the top 12 drivers will have a guaranteed attempt to post a traditional four-lap qualifying time. The fastest six will advance to earn a spot in positions one through six with the pole position earning $100,000. 

"We have an incredibly deep field heading into this year's Indianapolis 500," said INDYCAR President Jay Frye. "The timing is right to implement a new and dramatic way to expand one of the most intense weekends on our calendar. Winning pole position for the '500' is an incredible feat, and with this new format, it will be even more challenging."

The slowest six will fill out starting positions seven through 12.

"Indianapolis 500 qualifying weekend always is special," Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. "This format will give our fans even more opportunities to see INDYCAR'S world-class drivers compete on racing's biggest stage. While winning the race is the ultimate prize, capturing pole position for the '500' is one of motorsports' most prestigious honors and almost a race within a race. I cannot wait to see this expanded format on the final Sunday before Race Day."

A Last Chance Qualifying session for spots 31-33 is scheduled for May 22 if there are more than 33 entrants. Each entry is guaranteed one attempt and can make multiple attempts until time expires. 

A practice session for all 33 Indianapolis 500 starters will happen May 23.

Live coverage of the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge starts at noon on Sunday, May 29 on WTHR Channel 13. Pre-race coverage from 13News will begin at 5 a.m.

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