Thus, any competitor who meets the minimum speed requirement in qualifying will be allowed to race, although those beyond 26 won't be paid by the series.
"It's one thing to lose the money; it's another thing to embarrass a sponsor or upset a sponsor," Bernard said.
In implementing the 26-car cap, series officials trumpeted the idea of having only the fastest in races. Bernard said he began reconsidering once team owners showed him the value of having sponsors and their decals active throughout the weekend.
IndyCar had five races last year with more than 26 cars.
"So if we have 27 cars, the 27th will run," Bernard said. "I don't want to take away the value they get by being in the race."
The Indianapolis 500 will continue to have 33 starters. Indy Star