During those 15 race weekends, 24 starting spots will be filled through qualifications based on time, with two provisional positions available if needed.
"This new procedure will ensure that our fans see the best drivers and teams in every race we stage, while adding more drama to the qualifying process," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations for INDYCAR. "Many of the tracks we compete at can only accommodate a maximum of 26 cars and that is our limit when traveling to overseas events, so those two factors are what really helped us land on this number. We feel that a consistent starting line-up number will help our tracks and teams better prepare for events, improve conditions on pit road and elevate the level of competition on track."
The two provisional spots will be available to drivers not making the field after the completion of qualifying. The provisionals will be assigned based the following criteria (in order):
Â· 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series champion driver.
Â· 2009 IZOD IndyCar Series champion driver.
Â· 2010 Indianapolis 500 champion driver.
Â· Highest-ranking driver among the current top-22 driver point standings prior to race weekend.
Â· Leader Circle entry with the best practice lap time at the event, as deemed acceptable by INDYCAR.
Â· Entry with next best qualifying lap time, as deemed acceptable by INDYCAR.
The Indianapolis 500 will maintain its traditional 33-car starting field. The field at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be expanded to 30 to accommodate additional entries participating in the $5 million challenge. The 30-car field includes two provisional starting positions based on the standard criteria.
Provisional spots will not be available for the IZOD IndyCar Series events at Sao Paulo and Twin Ring Motegi, but the field will have up to 26 cars at both races. INDYCAR will determine at its discretion the procedure by which non-Leader's Circle teams are selected to travel to and participate in these two events.