Aleshin: Back with my family in IndyCar


Mikhail Aleshin feels like he is back with his racing family as he prepares to return to the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time in 2016 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Aleshin made his IndyCar debut in 2014 with Sam Schmidt’s team, scoring a breakthrough podium finish in Houston en route to 16th place in the final standings.

However, Aleshin turned his focus to endurance racing in 2015 with Russian outfit SMP Racing in the European Le Mans Series where he raced in the LMP2 class.

A one-off run with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports came at the IndyCar season finale at Sonoma where he finished tenth, and Aleshin has since secured the second seat at the team for 2016 alongside James Hinchcliffe.

Writing in his ‘driver debrief’ for the IndyCar website, Aleshin explained how he felt he had returned to his family in the series after a year away.

“I feel like I am back with my family again,” Aleshin said. “After being away from the Verizon IndyCar Series for almost all of 2015, it is great to know I will be with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports again next season, and for the whole season.

“We tested last week at Sebring and it just makes me more excited for 2016. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports is a very good team and we had a great experience together in 2014.

“Together with SMP Racing, my sponsor in Russia who has a great racing program in many series, we thought that it would be great to come back to IndyCar. I’m very happy that we could put it all together so I can become be a part of this team again. They are all like a family to me.”

Aleshin admitted that he was surprised by the levels of downforce offered by the new aero kits, but is excited to be returning to front-line single-seater racing on a full-time basis.

“I can’t wait to get back full-time in the Verizon IndyCar Series,” Aleshin said. “I have no words, only emotions because I am so excited. It’s really one of the best and most competitive series I’ve been to. So it’s really great to be back, as I feel I have huge potential to show up here.

“I was able to drive in the last race this season at Sonoma, so I did get some experience with the new aero kits.

“I was very surprised on the ’15 kit’s downforce level when I did the final race in Sonoma. The car became faster and more physical to drive, which makes it even more challenging for drivers, which makes me even more interested to drive.

“Driving an Indy car is real racing, which you don’t see so often in these days, and I’m very happy to take this challenge!”

Winner Josef Newgarden earns $3.666 million from a record Indy 500 purse of $17 million


INDIANAPOLIS — The first Indy 500 victory for Josef Newgarden also was the richest in race history from a record 2023 purse of just more than $17 million.

The two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, who continued his celebration Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned $3.666 million for winning the 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The purse and winner’s share both are the largest in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Indy 500 purse set a record after the 2022 Indy 500 became the first to crack the $16 million mark (nearly doubling the 2021 purse that offered a purse of $8,854,565 after a crowd limited to 135,000 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The average payout for IndyCar drivers was $500,600 (exceeding last year’s average of $485,000).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, whose team also fields Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, had made raising purses a priority since buying the track in 2020. But Penske but was unable to post big money purses until the race returned to full capacity grandstands last year.

The largest Indy 500 purse before this year was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indy 500 won by Scott Dixon (whose share was $2,988,065). Ericsson’s haul made him the second Indy 500 winner to top $3 million (2009 winner Helio Castroneves won $3,048,005.

Runner-up Marcus Ericsson won $1.043 million after falling short by 0.0974 seconds in the fourth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

The 107th Indy 500 drew a crowd of at least 330,000 that was the largest since the sellout for the 100th running in 2016, and the second-largest in more than two decades, according to track officials.

“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental Month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”

Benjamin Pedersen was named the Indy 500 rookie of the year, earning a $50,000 bonus.

The race’s purse is determined through contingency and special awards from IMS and IndyCar. The awards were presented Monday night in the annual Indy 500 Victory Celebration at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The payouts for the 107th Indy 500:

1. Josef Newgarden, $3,666,000
2. Marcus Ericsson, $1,043,000
3. Santino Ferrucci, $481,800
4. Alex Palou, $801,500
5. Alexander Rossi, $574,000
6. Scott Dixon, $582,000
7. Takuma Sato, $217,300
8. Conor Daly, $512,000
9. Colton Herta, $506,500
10. Rinus VeeKay, $556,500
11. Ryan Hunter‐Reay, $145,500
12. Callum Ilott, $495,500
13. Devlin DeFrancesco, $482,000
14. Scott McLaughlin, $485,000
15. Helio Castroneves, $481,500
16. Tony Kanaan, $105,000
17. Marco Andretti, $102,000
18. Jack Harvey, $472,000
19. Christian Lundgaard, $467,500
20. Ed Carpenter, $102,000
21. Benjamin Pedersen (R), $215,300
22. Graham Rahal, $565,500*
23. Will Power, $488,000
24. Pato O’Ward, $516,500
25. Simon Pagenaud, $465,500
26. Agustín Canapino (R), $156,300
27. Felix Rosenqvist, $278,300
28. Kyle Kirkwood, $465,500
29. David Malukas, $462,000
30. Romain Grosjean, $462,000
31. Sting Ray Robb (R), $463,000
32. RC Enerson (R), $103,000
33.  Katherine Legge, $102,000

*–Broken down between two teams, $460,000 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, $105,500 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports