IndyCar is adding an element of Saturday night short-track racing into its lone Saturday night short-track race in 2012 – qualifying heat races.
Iowa Speedway will see the debut of three heat races for the June 22 event. There will be three 30-lap heats, with the field in each set by practice times. One heat will determine the top-10 starting positions, with the other two heats to set odd positions 11-31 and even positions 12-32, respectively.
New IndyCar president of competition Beaux Barfield said this is a trial that could be implemented at further oval events in 2013, while suggesting standing starts could also be implemented for road courses later in the year.
“In the same vein of implementing double-file restarts, we looked at heat races as something that could add excitement to our races and just improve the product,” said Barfield. “This is the first of a few concepts we're considering. 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.”
Barfield said that double-file restarts, introduced last year, will continue for all races except the speedway events at Indianapolis, Texas and California. He also noted that standing starts could be implemented at a few events later in the season.
"I've spent the past five weeks writing rules and I have to write a lot more rules for standing starts," Barfield said. "There's a lot of equipment necessary to get and put into place, and most importantly there's so much development going on with the teams and the cars that I want to be respectful of before I throw a lot of new things at them."