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Sato earns $2.45 million for win; Alonso beats Jones to ROY

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At last night’s banquet to celebrate the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil and honor the victor of the race, winner Takuma Sato took home more than $2.45 million, as part of the race’s overall purse of $13,178,359. The full IMS release is linked here.

Both the winner’s amount and the overall purse are down from last year’s 100th running. Last year, per IMS, winner Alexander Rossi earned $2,548,743 from an overall purse of $13,273,253.

The other bit of news that emerged last night – to some consternation on social media – was the news Fernando Alonso beat Ed Jones to Indianapolis 500 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, and the $50,000 that went with it.

Alonso starred all month, for sure, but a Honda engine failure resigned him to an unrepresentative 24th place result in a DNF. Jones, heavily overshadowed and under-the-radar, ended in third place after a strong month of his own.

Four criteria are established for the rookie-of-the-year voting: (a) the driver’s skill, (b) sportsmanship, (c) accessibility and conduct during the month, and (d) finishing position. Per IMS, each criteria should be considered the same as any other.

We hope to have more insight about that process and the resultant kerfuffle that followed on social media in the coming days on MST.

The updated box score with prize money totals is linked here.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.