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IndyCar slashes qualifying points for Indianapolis 500

Ed Carpenter Indy 500

IndyCar has slashed the number of qualifiers that will be eligible for points at the Indianapolis 500.

Previously, all 33 Indy 500 qualifiers earned points, starting with 42 for the polesitter, while at other races there was just a single point awarded for pole.

As had been predicted, for this year's running of the race IndyCar has decided to only award driver and team points to the top nine qualifiers.

The pole winner will earn nine points with a consistent sliding scale down to one point for the ninth-fastest qualifier.

Double race points will continue to be awarded for the Indianapolis 500 and the 2018 season finale at Sonoma for drivers and teams.

The qualifying order for the Indy 500 will be set by a "blind draw", while other oval races will be determined by the reverse order of entrants points.

Leading IndyCar drivers had long been calling for success to be rewarded as later runners in one-by-one qualifying, as held on all ovals, generally have more favourable conditions.

IndyCar has also revealed pre-season testing details, with an open test at Phoenix on February 9-10 running from 1pm-5pm and 6pm-9pm local time.

It has also added four hours of track time on February 8 for rookie drivers to complete their oval test assessments.

The open test at Portland International Raceway, returning to an IndyCar schedule for the first time since 2007, will be held on August 30, a day prior to the Portland race weekend beginning.

Indianapolis will be closed for Mother's Day on Sunday May 13, the day after the road course race, with track activity resumed on Tuesday May 15 for rookie orientation, veteran refresher practice and then all cars.

Teams that did not participate in manufacturer testing of the new car post-season last year have been granted half a day of private testing, following discontent among those who had missed out.

The testing is limited to one car per team and must take place in conjunction with the team's first on-track test of 2018.

Each team is permitted five hours of track time and two sets of Firestone tyres.

Finally, the minimum car weight for 2018 has been increased by 4.5kg to 735kg for road and street courses and short ovals, 721kg for superspeedways to accommodate for new parts and additional on-car cameras related to the universal aerokit all competitors will run in 2018.

The weight limit will not include fuel, drink bottle and its contents, driver and driver equivalency weight.

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