RHR to lead Rose Parade in Acura NSX, to kick off 100th Indy 500 chat

Photo: Honda/Rose Parade
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Usually race drivers don’t wind up driving the pace car until years after their active career has come to a conclusion. See Rutherford, Johnny and Luyendyk, Arie as two modern day examples of Indianapolis 500 champions taking that approach.

Consider Ryan Hunter-Reay’s New Year’s Day opportunity an exception, then, and a very cool one at that.

Hunter-Reay will be driving a new 2016 Acura NSX to lead the Tournament of Roses Parade – albeit trading his 225-230 mph top speed for a 2.5 mph top speed he’ll have to maintain for 5.5 miles, or two hours and 12 minutes.

Next year’s Rose Parade presented by Honda is the 127th edition. Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indianapolis 500 and 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion, will lead the field including Honda’s “Nature’s Hope” float along with 43 others.

The event takes place New Year’s Day at 11 a.m. ET, 8 a.m. PT on a number of networks, including NBC (others include ABC, HGTV, Univision, RDFTV).

For Hunter-Reay, who’s experienced a cool amount of items in his career, getting to lead the field joins the list of awesome opportunities.

“We discussed it for the 2015 Rose Bowl after winning the ’14 Indy 500, but the timing didn’t add up,” Hunter-Reay told MotorSportsTalk.

“We put it up now with the NSX hitting the road. It’s perfect timing. I’m honored to be representing the sport and IndyCar and Indy 500, as winner and champion.

“It’s a huge opportunity. First push for the 100th running of the 500.”

Hunter-Reay is yet to see the new 2016 NSX in person; the car has come a long way from a “prototype” it was when it made demonstration laps at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course a couple years ago.

“This’ll be the first time to go,” he said. “It’s a new year’s tradition. It’s pretty cool to get to do it as American champion.”

Hunter-Reay’s presence in the Rose Parade is a rarity for an IndyCar driver. Two-time Indy 500 winner Rodger Ward, who won in 1959 and 1962, was in the 1963 Rose Parade on the state of Indiana’s “Memorable Moments in Indiana” float. A replica of Rodger Ward’s 1962 Indy 500-winning roadster was on the float.

As for the Rose Bowl itself, Hunter-Reay said although he doesn’t have a particular favorite between Iowa and Stanford, he’ll lean more towards the Big Ten team.

“I don’t really have skin in the game. (But) I’d have to go for Iowa, (considering I have) three wins and the second place. That’s a special place. One of my favorite spots to go to.”

His day job, of course, is driving the No. 28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport.

You can see a full infographic of RHR’s Rose Parade game plan, below.


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