Castroneves Earns Record $3 Million for Third '500' Victory
May 26, 2009
Photo courtesy of IMS Photo
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 25, 2009 - Helio Castroneves earned a record $3,048,005 from an overall purse of $14,315,315 for his emotional victory May 24 in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Castroneves and his family shed tears of joy in Victory Lane after he took his third career victory in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Castroneves had a dream-like month of May at Indianapolis, winning the PEAK Performance Pole Award, the Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge and the race.
The previous record winner's purse was $2,988,065 awarded to Scott Dixon in 2008. This year's event purse - the second-largest in "500" history behind the $14,406,580 sum from 2008 - is comprised of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League awards, sponsor awards and other designated awards.
Castroneves joined an elite club with his victory, becoming only the ninth driver in "500" history to win the race three times. Castroneves won his first two starts, in 2001 and 2002.
In his 2009 triumph, Castroneves led 66 of 200 laps, including the final 59. He crossed the finish line 1.9819 seconds ahead of Dan Wheldon. Castroneves also provided team owner Roger Penske with his record 15th Indianapolis 500 victory.
Wheldon, the 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner and driver of the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, earned $1,258,805. Danica Patrick finished an Indianapolis 500-career best third in the No. 7 Boost Mobile/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone and earned $763,305.
Townsend Bell and Will Power also posted Indy career-best finishes of fourth and fifth, respectively. Bell earned $445,305 while Power collected a check for $345,305.
Alex Tagliani, driver of the No. 36 All Sport Conquest Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, was awarded the prestigious Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year Award and a $25,000 bonus plus the Chase Rookie of the Year Trophy. Tagliani finished 11th - the highest-finishing rookie - after starting at the back of the field in 33rd.
At the Victory Celebration, Sarah Fisher received the Scott Brayton Driver's Trophy, presented since 1997 to the driver who best exemplifies the character and racing spirit of the late Scott Brayton.
The 2010 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race is scheduled for Sunday, May 30, 2010.