Indy 500 pole qualifying will have a new twist for 2022 with two rounds replacing the Fast Nine format of recent years.
The NTT IndyCar Series announced Tuesday that the first four rows for the 106th edition of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing will be determined May 22 after positions 13-33 are set May 21.
After the first day of PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying, the 12 fastest drivers will have a guaranteed attempt to post a four-lap average for the pole position in the May 29 race (which will be broadcast on NBC). The top 12 session will begin at 4 p.m. ET on NBC.
INDY 500 PRIMER: Important details, schedule for watching on NBC
INDY 500 QUALIFYING: Click here for a graphical representation of the new format
The fastest six drivers will advance to the Firestone Fast Six at 5:10 p.m. ET to set the first two rows on NBC (the other six will slot in for the Rows 3 and 4).
The pole-sitter will receive $100,000, and 12 points toward the IndyCar standings. Points will be awarded in decreasing one-point increments for the top 12 (with second earning 11; third getting 10, etc.).
“We have an incredibly deep field heading into this year’s Indianapolis 500,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said in a release. “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.”
If there are more than 33 entries in the event, a Last Chance Qualifying session for the three spots on the last row will be held from 2-3 p.m. ET on May 22. It’s expected that this year’s race could have a maximum of 33 entries.
“Indianapolis 500 qualifying weekend always is special,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles said in a release. “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.”
NBC will have live coverage of the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 29. The broadcast also will be on Peacock Premium and Telemundo Deportes on Universo.
Here is the broadcast schedule for qualifying weekend (all times are ET):
Saturday, May 21
9-10:30 a.m.: Practice, Peacock Premium
Noon-5:50 p.m.: Indy 500 qualifying, positions 13-33, Peacock Premium
Sunday, May 22
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Last Chance practice, Peacock Premium
12:30-2 p.m.: Top 12 practice, Peacock Premium
2-3 p.m.: Last Chance Qualifying (Positions 31-33, if necessary) Peacock
4 p.m.: Indy 500 top 12 qualifying, NBC
5:10 p.m.: Firestone Fast Six, NBC
(A practice session for all 33 Indy 500 starters also is scheduled for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, May 23.)