Helio Castroneves is taking home $1.8 million for his dramatic victory Sunday at the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500, up 33% over last year’s winner’s check. The total purse this year was $8.8 million, divided among the 33-car field. Alex Palou, who came in second, receives about $649,000.
2020 winner Takuma Sato took home a $1,370,500 prize for winning last year’s race, while 2019 winner Simon Pagenaud earned the $2,669,529 top prize for his Indy 500 win
The 2020 purse was cut in half from around $15 million to $7.5 million because there were no ticket sales due to the pandemic.
This year, the track had 40% capacity, allowing 135,000 fans to be in the stands.
In addition to the big payout, Castroneves has joined an exclusive club of drivers who have won the race four times.
The Brazilian’s win this year was under the Meyer Shank Racing team flag, its first Indy win. But his previous victories, in 2001, 2002 and 2009, were with Team Penske.
The other four-time winners include A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr., and Rick Mears.
“I’m just so honored to be a part of this amazing group,” said Castroneves. “This is absolutely a dream come true.”
At age 46, Castroneves is also the fourth-oldest racer to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
“I don’t know if it’s a good comparison, but Tom Brady won a Super Bowl, Phil (Mickelson) won the PGA, and now here you go. The old guys still got it, kicking the young guys’ butts. We’re teaching them a lesson,” said Castroneves.
Tom Brady is 43 years old while and was the oldest QB to win the Super Bowl. Phil Mickelson is 50 years old and won the PGA Championship last week becoming the oldest major winner in PGA Tour history.
IMS says the race was also the fastest Indy 500 in history with an average speed of 190.690 mph. The race slowed only twice by cautions for a total of 18 laps.