IndyCar officials have modified the IZOD IndyCar Series road course qualifying procedures beginning with this weekend's race on the streets of Long Beach. Under the revised regulations, Friday practice sessions will play a key role in determining the starting lineups for the race.
The times from Friday's practice sessions will be used to determine the qualifying groups with the driver posting the fastest combined practice lap time having the option of selecting qualifying group. All odd numbered positions in practice (fastest, third fastest, fifth fastest, seventh fastest, etc.) will be in one group and all even number positions in practice will make up the other group.
It is hoped this will lead to more evenly-balanced qualifying groups than the random draw, which has sometimes seen one group notably tougher than the other. At Barber Motorsports Park last weekend, group one contained all three Penske drivers and three of the four Ganassi entries.
"This change was made at the request of the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers, who were looking for a system that enhanced the competition," said IndyCar's head of competition, Brian Barnhart. "It puts a premium on Friday practice sessions and helps even out that groups, which couldn't be achieved with a random draw."