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New Indy 500 schedule to stay

Next year's Indy 500 will continue with the streamlined three-week schedule introduced this season

Schedule changes introduced in May 2005 for the event included 'bumping' on each day of qualifying, with the first 11 places decided on the first Saturday of the event and the next 11 decided a day later.

The final places are decided on the Saturday a week later, with bump day qualifying on the final Sunday before race day.

That format was disrupted this season due to rain, with the first 22 places being decided on the first Sunday instead. However, organisers will stick with the new system.

"Changes that we introduced to the 2005 schedule helped to create one of the most memorable months of May in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history," said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer.

"Fans and competitors were very enthusiastic about the new format, so it makes sense to maintain a similar schedule for 2006 as we celebrate the 90th running of the 500-Mile Race."

The later start time of noon on race day will remain, reducing the likelihood on NASCAR stars opting to race in the event, because it leaves less time to get to the Coca Cola 600 in Charlotte. Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon have tried the feat before.

90th Indianapolis 500 schedule (All times local, subject to change):

Sunday, May 7, 2006
Opening Day - Rookie Orientation Program
Noon-5 p.m.

Monday, May 8
Rookie Orientation Program
Noon-5 p.m.

Tuesday, May 9-Thursday, May 11
Practice (All drivers)
Noon-6 p.m.

Friday, May 12
Fast Friday practice (All drivers)
Noon-6 p.m.

Saturday, May 13
MBNA Pole Day
Noon-6 p.m.

Sunday, May 14
Second Day Qualifying
Noon-6 p.m.

Monday, May 15-Tuesday, May 16
No Track Activity

Wednesday, May 17-Friday, May 19
Practice (All drivers)
Noon- 6 p.m.

Saturday, May 20
Third Day Qualifying
Noon-6 p.m.

Sunday, May 21
Bump Day Qualifying
Noon-6 p.m.

Monday, May 22-Tuesday, May 23
No Track Activity

Wednesday, May 24
Community Day

Thursday, May 25
Freedom 100 Practice, Qualifying
Noon-5 p.m.

Friday, May 26
Miller Lite Carb Day (Indianapolis 500 practice, Freedom 100,
Checkers/Rally's Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge, Miller Lite Carb Day Concert)
All Day

Saturday, May 27
Public Drivers' Meeting
11 a.m.

Sunday, May 28
90th Indianapolis 500
Noon

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