F1’s Lando Norris wins his debut in IndyCar iRacing Challenge at COTA

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VIRTUAL AUSTIN, Texas — Lando Norris rebounded from a midrace spin Saturday, and the Formula One driver rallied to win the IndyCar iRacing Challenge at Circuit of The Americas.

The McLaren driver, who was making his debut in the series, took the lead when Felix Rosenqvist spun out of first with four laps remaining.

Norris finished 1.249 seconds ahead of Arrow McLaren SP teammate Pato O’Ward and Rosenqvist. Scott McLaughlin and Santino Ferrucci rounded out the top five.

FULL BOXSCORE: Click here to see the complete results from COTA

POSTRACE REACTION: What drivers said after the race at COTA

REUNITED IN SIM: Colton Herta and Norris have a history together

“It was not easy at all,” said Norris, who led 15 of 32 laps. “Obviously the spin was a tough race. Especially Pato closing in on new tires at the end. I didn’t think I was going back to the lead, but Will (Power) spun. That was a key to get back to P1.”

Said O’Ward, who had been training with Norris and teammates Oliver Askew and Robert Wickens this week: “Man, Lando is quick in the sim. The whole week, we were really working as a team to improve each of us. Our whole teamwork and proud we ended 1-2. I was pushing hard to get to him at the end but couldn’t quite get to him.”

Rosenqvist said he spun because “it was probably me operating above my limits trying to keep (Norris) behind me.”

Norris started on the pole position in his IndyCar iRacing Challenge debut and led the first 11 laps before pitting.

But the up and comer (who is entering his second full-time season in F1) spun midway through the race after a Lap 12 competition caution. After stopping ahead of the three-lap yellow, the Englishman was trying to make up ground on new leader Will Power just after the race went green again.

“I was swearing quite a bit but won’t repeat that now,” Norris told the IndyCar on NBC booth with a laugh about the incident. “I was really annoyed. We’ve been so strong as a team, learning about our driving between us and trying to improve. To throw it away as stupidly as I did just by trying to be a bit eager on the gas on the throttle out of the last corner, which is probably a tricky one as it comes over the crest.

“And I was annoyed because there’s so much work. Everything else went really well on a different strategy from a lot of the other guys. I feel like I threw it all away and lost the opportunity to go for the win. I had the pace and wanted to try to come back through, which is what I did with some other guys making mistakes. We managed to get back through and into the lead.”

Power seemed in command for his first victory in the series, but the Team Penske driver spun twice shortly after his pit stop. Power finished sixth.

The IndyCar iRacing Challenge will conclude May 2 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which was announced Saturday as the “Dream” track selected for the finale.

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

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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