Helio Castroneves has earned a record $3,048,005 from an overall purse of $14,315,315 for the emotional Indianapolis 500 victory that elevated him into an elite club of three-time winners.
The Brazilian, and his family, shed tears of joy in Victory Lane as the victory came just two days after he was cleared of the final charge in a series of federal tax evasion accusations that threatened not only his racing career, but also his freedom in general. Perhaps it was the release that came with acquittal, but Castroneves had a dream-like month of May, winning both the PEAK Performance Pole Award and the annual Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge before triumphing in the race.
His financial reward beat the previous record winner's purse of $2,988,065, which went to Scott Dixon in 2008, even though this year's total purse was 'only' the second-largest in 500 history, behind last year's $14,406,580. The payout was comprised of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League awards, sponsor awards and other designated awards.
Dan Wheldon, who finished as runner-up to Castroneves in the #4 National Guard Panther Racing entry, earned $1,258,805, while third-placed Danica Patrick took home $763,305. Like Patrick, Townsend Bell and Will Power also posted career-best 500 finishes of fourth and fifth, earning themselves $445,305 and $345,305 respectively.
Conquest Racing's Alex Tagliani, who was only in the race after his team opted to put him into the car qualified by Bruno Junqueira after an error left the Canadian on the sidelines, claimed the Chase Rookie of the Year Award and the $25,000 cheque that went with it after finishing eleventh from the back of the field.
Meanwhile, the post-race victory celebrations saw Sarah Fisher receive the Scott Brayton Driver's Trophy, presented since 1997 to the driver who best exemplifies the character and racing spirit of the late American driver.