Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato earns $1.37 million from reduced purse


Takuma Sato’s second Indy 500 victory was worth less than his first because of a reduced purse, but the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver still picked up a $1,370,500 winner’s check.

The 104th Indianapolis 500 paid $7,502,500 to its 33-car field. That was slightly more than half of the originally announced record purse of $15 million. The amount was cut because the track lost millions by being unable to have fans because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Even with the winnings chopped in half, IndyCar team owners have said they still needed the series’ biggest race held without fans to keep their organizations financially viable.

According to the Indianapolis Star, it’s the smallest Indy 500 race purse since 1991 and the lowest winner’s earnings since 2003.

For his 2017 victory, Sato had earned $2,458,129. Last year, Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud earned $2,669,529 from an overall purse of $13,090,536.

Scott Dixon, who finished second Sunday for the third time in the Indy 500, pocketed $505,000 after leading a race-high 111 laps. Third-place finisher Graham Rahal received $403,500, and Santino Ferrucci took $300,000 for fourth. Defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden earned $251,000 for taking fifth.

Pato O’Ward received $200,500 for his sixth, plus $50,000 for being named the 2020 Indy 500 rookie of the year.

The Indy 500 finishers will be honored in a one-hour special that will be available Tuesday afternoon on IndyCar Pass on NBC Sports Gold.

Ryan Hunter-Reay hired as replacement for Conor Daly at Ed Carpenter Racing

Ryan Hunter-Reay Carpenter
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ryan Hunter-Reay was named to replace Conor Daly in Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet, starting in the NTT IndyCar Series event next week at Road America.

Hunter-Reay is the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner. He finished 11th for Dreyer & Reinbold last month in the 107th Indy 500, his first start since the 2021 season finale. He drove full time for Andretti Autosport from 2010-21.

“We need to improve our competitiveness and I wanted to add a fresh perspective from a driver like Ryan who has a massive amount of experience and success as well as a reputation as a team leader. I am excited to welcome Ryan to the team,” team owner Ed Carpenter said in a team release. “We have worked together in the past as teammates and he tested for ECR at Barber Motorsports Park in October 2021, where he made an immediate impact as we were able to qualify one of our cars on the pole following that test. I am confident that his experience and technical abilities will be an asset to ECR as we move forward toward our goals as a team.”

Hunter-Reay has 18 IndyCar victories, most recently in 2018. He also is a winner in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, having been a part of winning entries in the 2020 Twelve Hours of Sebring and 2018 Petit Le Mans. Last year, he was an endurance driver for Cadillac Racing while being on standby for Chip Ganassi Racing.

He replaces Daly, whose departure was announced a day earlier in what the driver and team said was a mutual decision.

“I was surprised when I got the call from Ed,” Hunter-Reay said in a team release. “He described how frustrated he was that his team has not been able to realize its potential despite their efforts, investments, as well as technical and personnel changes over the past few years and asked for my help. Ed and I are very close friends and have been for a long time. I’ve worked with the team in the past and they are a very talented group with high expectations and a committed partner in BITNILE.COM.

“This will certainly be a challenge for me as well. It’s a tough situation jumping in a car in the middle of the season without any testing in what I believe to be the most competitive series in the world. Certainly, part of my motivation in saying ‘yes’ to Ed is the great challenge ahead. The last time I turned right driving an NTT IndyCar Series car was in October of 2021 with this team at Barber. However, I remain very confident in both my driving and technical abilities and believe by working with the talented people at ECR and Team Chevy, while representing BITNILE.COM, we will make progress. I am going to do everything I can do to help the team achieve its long-term objectives.”

Said Milton “Todd” Ault, the chairman of sponsor “It is great for to be aligned with an Indy 500 Winner and an NTT IndyCar Series champion. I have followed Ryan’s career for years and I am confident he will challenge the entire ECR team to perform at higher levels. I wish everyone luck at Road America.”