By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter
INDYCAR officials announced a few procedure changes to their weekend schedules and rules ahead of the upcoming 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Season.
Here is a list of what will be changing:
- Phoenix and Gateway qualifying – Qualifying for the pair of short oval races will be held in the afternoon before the race. Friday will feature two practice sessions with one scheduled the same time slot of the race.
- Extra set of Firestone red tires – Each entry will now receive four sets of the optional Firestone red tires rather than three. This will allow the teams to practice on the red tires in order to get some laps on them before qualifying.
- Push-to-pass usage now timed – Usage of the overtake assist will now be timed as opposed to in years past when it was determined by the number of uses. Drivers are allowed 150 seconds at the events at St. Petersburg, Detroit and Sonoma Raceway. They will be given 200 seconds of boost at the remaining road and street circuits.
- INDYCAR Grand Prix schedule – The road course race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will now be a two-day show – May 12-13.
- Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Qualifications – Qualfiying for the lone doubleheader round of the season on June 3-4 will not feature the knockout qualifying. The field will be divided into two groups of cars based on practice speeds. Each session will be 12 minutes long with five minutes of guaranteed green-flag time. This format was used for the second round of the series’ previous doubleheader rounds.
- If a driver causes a red flag, their two quickest laps will be disallowed.
- One championship point will be given to the fastest car in each group on both days.
- Road/Street practice start times are standardized- Practice for the rounds on road and street courses will now start at 11 am and 3 pm respectively. Sessions will last 45 minutes each.
On-track activity for the Verizon IndyCar Series will resume this weekend at the Phoenix International Raceway. Teams will take part in a two-day test at the 1.0-mile oval. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will kick off the 2017 season on Sunday, March 12.