Qualifying for the 2012 Indianapolis 500 begins this weekend and is split over two days. Each driver will drive four laps (10 miles) to determine his or her qualifying time. This first day of qualifying is known as Pole Day, while the second is referred to as Bump Day. The format can be a bit confusing, so here is a pretty straightforward explanation of how the two days of qualifying break down:
- On Pole day, positions 1-24 are open for qualifying. At the end of the day the top nine drivers return to the track for a 90-minute "shootout" competition to re-qualify for the top nine spots - including the pole position.
- On Bump day, positions 25-33 are filled. Once the field is filled to 33 cars, bumping commences. The slowest car in the field, regardless of the day it qualified, is "on the bubble."
Additionally, the drivers are ordered according to the day on which they qualified. So drivers who qualify on Sunday will be slotted behind all the drivers who qualified on Saturday, even if they end up with faster times than some of the drivers who qualified Saturday.
Additonal information on qualifying, including the schedule and television details, can be found here.