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IndyCar schedule and format for The Thermal Club $1 million race

On Sunday, the second IndyCar race of the season will take place at the Thermal Circuit in California. In this article, you will find the schedule for this event, and just how it works.

IndyCar Thermal California | 1 million dollar challenge

Although points are not on the line, IndyCar has found a way to fill a month-long gap in its schedule so early in the season.

On Sunday, the series will host a '$1 million Challenge' at The Thermal Club just outside Palm Springs, where the series held its two-day open test for the 2023 season last February.

The challenge, which will be televised on NBC, takes place at the private racing club and luxury resort.

Check out the schedule for the Thermal Club event below.

IndyCar schedule The Thermal Club California

Session Date ET GMT
Open Test Session 1 Friday, March 22 12:00-14:00 17:00-19:00
Open Test Session 2 Friday, March 22 17:00-19:00 22:00-00:00
Open Test Session 3 Saturday, March 23 12:00-14:00 17:00-19:00
Open Test Session 4 Saturday, March 23 16:00-18:00 21:00-23:00
Qualifying Group 1 Saturday, March 23 20:00-20:12 01:00-01:12 - March 24th
Qualifying Group 2 Saturday, March 23 20:27-20:39 01:27-01:39 - March 24th
Heat Race 1 Sunday, March 24 12:15-12:35 17:15-17:35
Heat Race 2 Sunday, March 24 12:45-13:05 17:45-18:05
All-Star Race Sunday, March 24 13:50-14:45 18:50-19:45

What is the format for IndyCar at The Thermal Club?

After four open practice sessions, the field will be randomly drawn into two groups, each receiving 12 minutes of track time, with the results being used to form the grids for the Heat races on Sunday.

In the Heats, which will be 10 laps or 20 minutes, the top six drivers in each will go forward to the All-Star race itself later on Sunday.

The top six cars in each Heat then form the 12-car grid for the exhibition race at The Thermal Club.

Pole position for the main event will be determined by the heat race winner, with the fastest qualifying time taking pole with the remainder of that driver's heat forming up in the odd-numbered grid spots.

The second fastest will take second, with the other drivers from that heat taking 4-6-8-10-12 on the grid.

The final itself will be a 20-lap affair, but be divided into 10-lap Sprints with a half-time break after Lap 10.

A prize purse of $1.7 million is to be split, with the winning driver banking $500,000, with a club member also receiving the half million.

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