For the period of time since 2005 and until 2009, the qualifying format for the Indy 500 race included action throughout the duration of 4 days. The Top 11 drivers on the grid were set during Pole day, on Saturday, while the next 11 positions on the grid were set during the very next day.
The last 11 positions on the 33-driver pack grid were eventually set the Saturday after the pole day, before the bump day, when all the non-qualifiers from the previous sessions went for their last chance to get back into the race grid.
From 2010 onwards, the format will be changed in a sense that all the qualifying actions prior to the Indy 500 race will take place through the duration of only 2 days, with pole day and bump day being scheduled for the same weekend. However, further details on the new format will only be available in the upcoming few weeks.
According to the championship officials, the changes are aimed at spicing things up for the fans, as the new format will oblige drivers to be more focused and do less mistakes during the course of a single weekend.
“From a competition standpoint, the new Indy 500 schedule will further enhance the drama of qualifications for both the competitors and fans. By setting the 33-car grid on one weekend, there's no room for mistakes by the teams and drivers. The pressure will be on to deliver over the 10 miles regardless of the weather and track conditions,” said Brian Barnhart, IRL competition president.
A two-day format for the qualifying of the Indy 500 race is actually no news for the Indy fans, as such a schedule has been enforced between 1998 and 2000.