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Indy 500 introduces new qualifying format

Drivers listen to instructions during the drivers meeting for the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, India
Drivers listen to instructions during the drivers meeting for the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, India

(Reuters) - This year's Indianapolis 500 will see the introduction of a new qualifying format featuring three rounds over two days, race organizers said on Friday.

Under the tweaked format, qualifying for the May 25 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will held on Saturday May 17 and Sunday May 18.

On the first day, all drivers will be given four laps around the famed oval circuit, with the top 33 all qualifying for the 98th edition of the race.

On the second day, the 33 cars will return to the Brickyard for two separate time trials, also over four laps, with their previous times all erased.

The fastest nine drivers from Saturday will fight it out in a Sunday shootout for pole position and the starting order for the first three rows of the grid.

The other 24 qualified drivers will battle each other for the remaining starting grid positions, from 10th to 33rd place.

Under the previous format, the top 24 places on the grid were all determined on the first day of qualifying, with the fastest nine holding a separate shootout for pole.

The rest of the 33-car field was then determined by a second day of qualifying, known as Bump Day.

(This version of the story corrects the day of week in fifth paragraph to Saturday.)

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Julian Linden)

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