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SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Practice starts today for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500. 

Drivers will begin practicing on the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 11:00 EDT this morning. There will bee three separate sessions, one with strictly the veteran drivers starting at 11. Then from 1-to-3 driver who have not completed veterans refreshers or rookie orientation will take to the track.

Finally, from 3-to-5:50 everyone will be allow to turn practice laps. Drivers are expected to run race day set ups these next two days before trimming out for qualifying Thursday and Friday. IMS President Doug Boles said on 93 WIBC’s Hammer and Nigel that qualifying will be a little different this year.

Saturday, qualifying runs start at 11:15 which will set positions 10-through-30 in the field. Come Sunday, the slowest drivers that did not make those 20 spots will compete for a spot in the final row. Three drivers will not make it into the race.

The top nine fastest drivers from Saturday will then compete for the pole Sunday afternoon.

Qualifying has been a touchy subject this year in light of regular series driver James Hinchcliffe failing to find enough speed last year to make it into the race. Team owners like Bobby Rahal, Roger Penske, Chip Ganassi, and Michael Andretti all agree that regular series drivers should be given an automatic spot in the Indy 500. 

Boles is among those who disagree. 

“Depending on how much of a percentage my vote counts, I’m probably going to vote to leave it the way it is,” Boles said. “No guarantees makes it special. We saw it last year. James Hinchcliffe not making it was a huge story that highlighted how difficult it is to make it into the field. I think it sould be the fastest 33.”

On Twitter a little over a week ago, driver Graham Rahal mirrored Boles’ thoughts. Rahal called himself a “traditionalist” adding that “things around here are earned, not given.” 

Race day is May 26th.

(PHOTO: James Black/IndyCar)