INDY 500 2012: 5 Drivers Who Could Win the Pole

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INDY 500 2012: 5 Drivers Who Could Win the Pole
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Starting Saturday, the all-important qualifying stage for the Indianapolis 500 begins, and this weekend will determine if all the hard work the drivers have done this month has paid off. One thing is for certain, and that is you can’t win the Indy 500 if you don’t qualify for the race.

Talking to everyone from rookie Josef Newgarden to points leader Will Power ,every driver I have spoken to is both excited and more than a little tense about this weekend.    

You are out there on the famed track all by yourself running against the clock and hoping that you don’t make a mistake or that something does not break on the car. In other words, running as fast as you can without wrecking is always the key.

Drivers face a completely different set of rules when qualifying for the Indy 500:

  • Order—A blind draw is conducted prior to each qualification day.
  • Warm-up laps—Each car is permitted two warm-up laps prior to the timed qualification laps. IndyCar Series officials may permit three warm-up laps if they deem it necessary.
  • Green-flag laps—A qualification attempt consists of four timed laps. The aggregate time is recorded as the official qualifying time for the car.
  • Pole Day—Qualifying is broken down into two segments, progressively narrowing the field to determine the pole winner.
  • Segment One—Held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., to determine positions 1-24 in the field based on the fastest four-lap averages. Once all 24 positions have been filled, bumping will occur until 4 p.m. Each car has up to three qualifying attempts. The top nine qualifiers advance to Segment 2.
  • Segment Two—Held from 4:30 to 6 p.m., the top nine cars will run in reverse order based on Segment 1 speeds. All cars are required to make at least one attempt in Segment 2. Cars making additional attempts will receive an additional set of tires. At the end of the session, the cars are ranked 1-9 based on their four-lap average during the segment.
  • Bump Day—Positions 25-33 will be determined based on the day’s fastest four-lap average. Once starting field is set, any qualifying attempt that is faster than a qualified entrant in the starting field will bump the slowest qualifier, regardless of the day of qualification. The “bumping” entrant is placed at the rear of the field while the “bumped” entrant is removed from the field, but has the opportunity to bump his way back into the starting field as time allows. Each car is allowed three attempts.

*Qualifying was provided to Bleacher Report by the IndyCar public relations department.

Television of pole day coverage will air on NBC Sports Network on Saturday May 19th starting at 11 a.m.—2:30 p.m. ET, and then again 4:30 p.m.—6:30 p.m. Sunday. Bump Day they will have coverage starting noon—6:30 p.m. ET.

Radio is on IMS

Broadband is: IndyCar.com 

OK who are the five men most likely to get the pole?      

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