Different qualifying formats this weekend in Belle Isle

With this weekend being a street course doubleheader, slight modifications have been made to the NTT P1 Award qualifying procedures. In short, each day will feature an abbreviated knockout format.

In Segment One, the field will be divided into two groups based on Friday’s practice times, with the fastest driver choosing his groups with the “odds” joining him and the “evens” in the other group. Group 1 and Group 2 will each receive a 10-minute qualifying session, with the clock running during red-flag conditions. The fastest six cars from each group will advance to Segment Two, known as the Firestone Fast 12. Those not advancing determine starting positions 13 through 25 based on time.

In Segment Two, all 12 cars will have their first segment times voided. Qualifying will span 10 minutes, with a minimum of five minutes of guaranteed green-flag time. Drivers will start that day’s race ranked first through 12th based on their best lap time from this segment.

All cars will be impounded by INDYCAR after completing their final run.

“We have two races, but for all intents and purposes when you actually get on track to practice and qualify, it ends up being very, very rushed and very segmented,” Hunter-Reay said. “So, you need to make the most of every lap on track.”

Saturday’s qualifying session begins at 11 a.m. ET, with Sunday’s at 9:15 a.m. ET. Both sessions will air live on the NBC Sports Network and Peacock.

  • Only 1 pole winner (Rahal 2017) has won the race outright in the last 14 tries.
  • 4 of the last 6 Belle Isle winners started in the top 3 spots.
  • The top four starters won 9 of the 14 races run last year including 8 of the final 9. They’re 4-for-6 already this season too.
  • 12 of the 14 races last year saw the winner come from a top 10 starting position including all of the 6 this season. That comes after all 17 races in 2019 having a top 10 starter win as well as the 2018 season finale.
  • 38 of the last 39 races saw the eventual race winner come from a top 10 starting spot. Simon Pagenaud (23rd) last July in Iowa is the only exception since the 2018 season finale.
  • 7 straight Belle Isle races were won from a top 10 starting spot including 8 of the last 9 and 24 of the 27 ever run on the island.

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