The big change is the introduction of a nine-driver pole shoot-out that is aimed at increasing excitement for the fans. As before, all entrants will have three shots at making it to the starting grid. On the opening day (Saturday 22 May) the top 24 drivers after the first five hours of qualifying will get spots in the race, with positions 10 to 24 set during this time.
After that, for the final 90 minutes of Pole Day, the top nine drivers from the first leg will fight for pole-position. Their previous times will be erased and the results of the shoot-out will establish positions one to nine on the grid.
The prize money for pole will be USD175,000 this year, up USD75,000 from last year, while the second and third places will get USD75,000 and USD50,000. There will also be points awarded for all nine qualifying positions, not only for the pole-sitter, as following: 15-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6.
All qualifiers between 10th and 24th get four points, each starter from 25th to 33rd getting three points. The last nine positions on the grid will be set during Bump Day, on Sunday 23 May, a week ahead of the race. "This new format for Indianapolis 500 qualifying will deliver even more action and intensity for fans," said Indianapolis Motor Speedway boss Jeff Belskus, quoted by Autosport. “This is going to be a fantastic weekend of qualifying. I can’t wait to see it unfold”, added Belskus.