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IndyCar pushing to have charter system in place before Indy 500

The leadership of the IndyCar Series aims to have a charter system finalised before this year’s Indianapolis 500.

Pre-race atmosphere

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Penske Entertainment President and CEO Mark Miles met with a small group of reporters on Thursday to discuss various topics surrounding the category, including an IndyCar version of a NASCAR-like charter system concept.

NASCAR implemented the system in 2016, allowing owners with possession of a charter to have a guaranteed spot in each race and collect more prize money.

The latest meetings with IndyCar team owners happened on Wednesday.

“We've put out a couple of different concepts for charters in previous team owner meetings, and frankly, not been very close to consensus on what it might look like,” Miles said.

“Yesterday, we aired another kind of high-level starting point for the concept of charters that maybe we'll have more traction. And we're going to work with a smaller group of team owners to get that developed. We'd like to see it fully developed and adopted before the 500 in coming weeks.”

When asked by Autosport if the push to implement a charter system within that desired timeframe is to enable guaranteed entries into this year’s Indy 500, thus breaking tradition of ensuring the fastest 33 qualifiers make the field, Miles shared the current stance.

“I guess they're related,” he said.

“The reason we'd like to get on with this is first of all, we've been talking about it for a while and okay, let's figure it out. Let's really lock up with the teams to figure out what's satisfactory. What would create value for them and for the series.”

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, start

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, start

Photo by: Brett Farmer / Motorsport Images

Miles added that he would work together with series president Jay Frye to put together a smaller group of team owners that would work “intensively to try to come up with something that ought to make sense for the for the series broadly, and the others. We just want to get it done.”

How the charter system could be implemented immediately is by pulling from final results of the 2023 season.

“We might start it such that last year's results, and the teams that we expect to be on the grid full-time this year, could be the initial charter members,” Miles said.

“So, if it's going to be based on the composition of the grid at the beginning of this year, I mean, the grid for the IndyCar Series broadly, then the sooner we get we get locked in, I think the more sense that will make.

“The discussion in our timing isn't driven by trying to sort out exactly what happens on the grid for the Indianapolis 500. Although obviously, that's going to be a point of discussion.

“In the proposal we put out yesterday, we said, ‘We want you to think about this without the assurance of charter members having automatic starting positions on the grid for the 500.’

“That’s what we aired, and of course, we immediately heard a lot of other team owners saying, ‘Woah, that’s really important.’ So, it’s a key discussion point, for sure.”

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