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IndyCar considers Indianapolis 500 points system change

IndyCar is considering an overhaul of the qualifying points system at the Indianapolis 500

At present all 33 Indy 500 qualifiers earn points, starting with 42 for the polesitter.

That compares to the usual single point for pole at other races.

It also means Indy qualifying positions are worth comparable amounts to race results elsewhere - with for instance second on the grid at Indy getting 40 points and finishing second in anything other than the double-points races worth 40.

That discrepancy is something IndyCar's president of competition and operations Jay Frye admits he is not happy with.

"With qualifying points so high, and then double-points in the race, you're offering two-and-a-half times our regular points," he told Autosport.

"I don't think Indy needs that.

"So there's a time and a place for evaluating different options, and that's what's going on right now. It's a work in progress."

The Indy 500 scoring double points has grudgingly been accepted by drivers over the years, but IndyCar faces regular criticism for artificially keeping the championship alive by offering double points in the season finale as well as for the extreme points distribution in Indy qualifying.

Frye implied there are also advocates for maintaining the current system.

It's a polarising topic, I must say," he added.

"I have a personal opinion on it and I'm kind of old school.

"I know there are a lot of elements that go into it, and I understand the opposing arguments.

"I'm working diligently to decide how to do it.

"I've come up with a few different ideas the past couple of years for qualifying and people present X, Y or Z scenarios as counter-arguments."

Shortlist of contenders to replace Barnhart

Frye said IndyCar is talking to "six or seven" candidates to replace Brian Barnhart as race director.

Barnhart announced a fortnight ago that he was leaving his role with the series to become president of new team Harding Racing.

"Brian was presented a phenomenal opportunity and he handled it in exactly the right way," said Frye.

"We'd known about this for a little while and we went through the process with him and talked a lot. I'm sure the dilemma caused him a lot of sleepless nights.

"But this was an opportunity that was really good for Brian and we 100% supported his decision.

"He's had a 24-year run within IndyCar, and that's a long time in professional sports, so we sure appreciate all he's done.

"We have a handful of people who we're talking to - some of them will be familiar to you, some will be not so well known."

IMSA race director Beaux Barfield, who held the same position at IndyCar between Barnhart's demotion from the role at the end of 2011 and his return as part of a new panel system for '15, is among those linked to the vacancy.

Next year's IMSA and IndyCar calendars feature only one clash.

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