Helio Castroneves having fun in new IndyCar role, wants more races

Castroneves IndyCar
Brian Cleary/Getty Images

Helio Castroneves won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, has a full season of racing in the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) series ahead of him and six IndyCar races scheduled. He is having fun, but he wants more.

“It would be awesome to be part of more races, which accelerate the adaptation to the car,” Castroneves said during a preseason, IndyCar Zoom press conference. “Yes, I would love to be a full season. That would be a no-brainer. To be not only ready, but to be competitive.

“I always feel that we could do a little bit more, but I understand the process with Meyer Shank Racing. We’ll just keep it going. We’ll find ways. … Also IMSA. I had a great three years. It would be a waste of three years to just throw out all the experience that I learned there over the three years. As of right now, yes, if I can do more IndyCar racing, it would be great.”

When Castroneves signed on with Tony Stewart’s SRX series in August, the rest of his schedule was unknown.

In November, it was announced he would run six races for Meyer Shank Racing including the season-opener at Barber Motorsports Park and the Indy 500.

The focus remains on IndyCar, but Castroneves is open to new opportunities.

“On the IMSA schedule, I just did Wayne Taylor, 24-Hour Daytona,” Castroneves said. “As of right now, I don’t have anything in IMSA. I only focus now with IndyCar. Actually I’m doing SRX, if you guys know, this year for Tony Stewart. Other than that, I am not doing – well, I haven’t had any invitation with IMSA whether through Meyer Shank Racing or any other team.”

But for now, Castroneves is having fun and relishing his role. His former ride at Team Penske, which whom he raced for more than 20 years, became habit. Racing with Meyer Shank means not only learning how a new team approaches things, but where the driver fits in their program.

Castroneves also has a new car with Dallara-Honda and the new characteristics of it enhances the fun-factor.

“First of all, like I say, we had our first test in Laguna,” Castroneves said. “It was actually fun. Main thing was to get myself adept again to the IndyCar.

“It was funny. Coming out of the corkscrew with the Acura, I was ‘just step on it, the traction control would do all the rest of the work.’ First few laps (in the new car), as soon as I went for my fast lap out there, I kind of had brain fade a little bit, went to the Acura mode and went full throttle. The car was like sideways. I was like, ‘Easy boy, easy’. It was a very interesting scenario.

“I’m glad and I like to be part of this. With Team Penske I knew it would be okay, so I wasn’t worry about it. Now I’m part of it this development. That’s really cool. I really enjoy this.”

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