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Dan Wheldon's $2.5 million payday

Dan Wheldon might be unemployed after his Indy 500 victory on Sunday, but he's not going to be short of cash for the foreseeable future - after pocketing $2.5m for the day's work.
It was announced on Monday that Dan Wheldon's dramatic race win at the end of Sunday's centennial Indianapolis 500 had netted him a total pay packet of $2,567,255.

The $2.5m comes from an overall race prize purse of $13,509,485, which is split between the entrants depending on their performance in qualification, places made up during the race - and of course their final finishing position. The drivers might be racing primarily for the thrill of the sport and because they want to win above all else, but no one's denying that the pay cheque has a certain appeal to it as well.

How the funds are shared out by the driver depends on the commercial arrangements with his team, but Wheldon will certainly keep a nice chunk of walking-around money to see himself through 2011 despite not having a regular IndyCar drive.

Wheldon beat JR Hildebrand in the last seconds of the race, after Hildebrand went up too high, got onto the marbles and smashed into the wall - although the car did end up carrying on by sheer momentum over the finish line marked by the famous "yard of bricks" to pick up second place.

The 23-year-old Californian rookie will pick up a pay cheque of $1,064,895, together with the prestigious Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year Award which adds another $25,000 and a trophy, although these will be scant consolation for losing out on the historic victory that was so nearly his.

Alex Tagliani nets $492,245 from Indianapolis thanks to the PEAK Performance Pole Award presented by AutoZone; Tagliani crashed on lap 148 and was ultimately classified in 28th position.

Third-place finisher Graham Rahal climbed up from 29th position during the 200 laps, giving him a bonus award for the greatest advance in position in the race and consequently takes home a cheque of $646,945 for his career-best Indianapolis finish.

Tony Kanaan's climb from 22nd on the grid to finish fourth was nearly as good, and he earned $438,745 for his fourth top-five finish in the Indy 500.

And former Indy 500 champion Scott Dixon - who was the bookies' favourite for the win and who looked very much the man to beat for much of the race - receives $519,345 for finishing in fifth position.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dan Wheldon celebrates at the 2011 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29. [Picture credit: LAT Photo USA]
Dan Wheldon celebrates with the traditional drink of milk at end of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29. [Picture credit: LAT Photo USA]
Dan Wheldon can`t believe he`s just on his second Indy 500. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday May 29, 2011. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Dan Wheldon crosses the finish line to win his second Indy 500. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday May 29, 2011. [Picture credit: LAT Photo USA for IndyCar Media]
Dan Wheldon starts prepping the next generation of Indy 500 winner (2-year-old son Sebastian) in front of his Indy 500 race-winning car and the Borg-Warner Trophy, on the start-finish line of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Monday May 30, 2011. [Picture credit: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media]
Dan Wheldon in his Indy 500 race-winning car, with the winner`s garland and the Borg-Warner Trophy, on the start-finish line of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway marked with its
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi Indy Car [credit: IndyCar TV Twitter]
Will Power Texas
Charlie Kimball
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones feature
IndyCar, Dallara 2018 chassis, [Credit: IndyCar]
Graham Rahal Detroit celebration
Detroit IndyCar race start
Detroit IndyCar Andretti RHR

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May 31, 2011 7:23 PM

I feel just as bad for JR as I am excited for Wheldon. IndyCar should write JR another check because him crashing on the last lap has put IndyCar on heavy rotation on the sports stations. Indy has gotten WAY more publicity than it normally would have without the last lap crash. Even the NASCAR boys were twitting back and forth about the 500. I wasn't familiar with William Rash jeans before this weekend (probably because I don't buy $200 jeans - I had to google them!lol) but they have gotten their exposure/money's worth with Wheldon this year. They need to come on board like Izod did as a sponsor.

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