IMSA: Bomarito leads Road America polesitters

Bomarito. Photo courtesy of IMSA

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Three of the four polesitters for Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America captured their first IMSA (or American Le Mans Series) pole positions, since, ironically, past poles at Road America several years ago.

Jonathan Bomarito (Prototype), Dirk Mueller (GT Le Mans) and James French (Prototype Challenge) all secured their first pole positions of the season. The fourth class polesitter, Alex Riberas (GT Daytona) has a pole in his Road America debut.


Bomarito’s is the third for the No. 55 Mazda Prototype, now back in its standard Soul Red color after two races in a throwback 1991 livery, but his first. Teammate Tristan Nunez has the other two at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Mueller, in the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, has that team’s third this year (Richard Westbrook in the No. 67 Ford at Watkins Glen International and Lime Rock Park). He also scored the overall pole for the FIA World Endurance Championship race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTE-Pro class, in the No. 68 car. Mueller shares with Joey Hand.

French, in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09 he’ll share with Kyle Marcelli, hustled his car around for his first pole since this race last year.

Bomarito took his last pole in 2013 here with the SRT Viper, and inherited the pole in 2014 at Circuit of The Americas after polesitter Patrick Pilet was disqualified following a post-qualifying technical infraction. Mueller’s last U.S. pole was in ALMS in 2011, here, with a BMW M3 for BMW Team RLL and Dunlop tires.

Bomarito promptly stomped the field in Prototype qualifying, on pole by more than one second at 1.152 seconds clear of Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP (1:54.507 to 1:55.659).

The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP and second Mazda, the No. 70 car, completed the top four on the grid. The No. 31 Whelen Engineering-backed Action Express Corvette DP, which won this race last year with Dane Cameron and Eric Curran, complete the top five on the grid.


French has scored a hometown pole in Prototype Challenge. The Sheboygan, Wis. native – he grew up less than a half hour away from the Road America track – has his fourth pole in his IMSA career and first this season for the Performance Tech Motorsports team, and he shares the No. 38 Oreca FLM09 with Kyle Marcelli.

French edged fellow open-wheel veteran Jose Gutierrez in the No. 7 Starworks Motorsport by just 0.075 of a second; a 1:59.133 lap was just ahead of Gutierrez’s 1:59.208.

Both drivers were here in June, French having made his Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series debut with Belardi Auto Racing to add that car to the tens of thousands of miles he’s logged here in vintage F1 machinery and other types of cars. Meanwhile Gutierrez tested another open-wheel car to gain additional track experience, and it paid dividends.

Misha Goikhberg (JDC/Miller Motorsports), Matt McMurry (BAR1 Motorsports) and Robert Alon (PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports) completed the top five on the grid. All five drivers have either or possibly both of Mazda Road to Indy and Mazda Road to 24 experience.


Dirk Mueller has taken the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT to the GT Le Mans class pole position for Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, which is his first pole since the American Le Mans Series/GRAND-AM Rolex Series merge and his first pole in North America in five years.

Mueller scored the pole at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in the renumbered No. 68 Ford – a car that ultimately won the GTE-Pro race with co-drivers Joey Hand and Sebastien Bourdais – but this is his first pole back on U.S. soil.

His last pole on U.S. soil was at this same track, then in a Dunlop-shod No. 56 BMW M3 he also co-drove with Hand, in 2011 in the American Le Mans Series. That car also started on pole before the 2012 Long Beach street race via points, a qualifying session which was canceled owing to heavy rain.

With a best time of 2:02.451, Mueller banked a 0.461 of a second gap on defending class champion Patrick Pilet in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR in second, with the second Ford, the No. 67 qualified by Ryan Briscoe, in third.

Mueller shares his car with Hand, Pilet with Nick Tandy and Briscoe with Richard Westbrook. The points leading No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner will roll off from seventh in class.


Riberas took his third pole of the season in GT Daytona in the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, this time adding the Road America road course to other poles at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Coupled with Mario Farnbacher’s pole at Watkins Glen International, the No. 23 car has four poles in eight races.

Riberas had a full 0.239 of a second on the first of two Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS entries in a row. The No. 6 car of Andrew Davis (he’ll share with Robin Liddell) edged the No. 9 car of Matt Bell (Lawson Aschenbach to co-drive).

The top Dodge and Ferrari were fourth and fifth, the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R (Ben Keating/Jeroen Bleekemolen) and No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 (Christina Nielsen/Alessandro Balzan). All told the top nine in the 15-car class were separated by only 0.984 of a second, a very small margin at the 4-plus mile road course.


Follow @TonyDiZinno

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