Callum Ilott is latest IndyCar driver to give thanks for aeroscreen after Texas incident

Callum Ilott aeroscreen IndyCar
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Callum Ilott is the latest NTT IndyCar Series driver to credit the aeroscreen for helping avoid a potentially serious injury or worse.

IndyCar president Jay Frye tweeted out video Wednesday night from Ilott’s close call with a part that flew off Jack Harvey’s car during his practice crash March 19 at Texas Motor Speedway.

“This incredibly high tech/game changer did its job again,” Frye posted on Twitter. “Thanks again for (an) incredible effort to all involved getting it done.”

The cockpit safety device implemented in 2020 by IndyCar deflected what Ilott described as a pushrod that flew down the backstretch from Harvey’s wreck while Ilott appeared to be slowing down from a top speed that typically is well in excess of 200mph on the 1.5-mile oval.

Ilott also tweeted his gratitude to IndyCar for the aeroscreen — echoing the sentiment of Ryan Hunter-Reay last season.

After a crash on the opening lap of the 2021 season opener at Barber Motorsports Park, Hunter-Reay said the aeroscreen “likely saved my life” while posting photos and videos to social media of the crash.

The right-front wheel of Josef Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet get airborne over Hunter-Reay’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda in the incident, but the wheel harmlessly deflected away because of the aeroscreen instead of hitting Hunter-Reay’s helmet.

Frye later told reporters that IndyCar had studied the crash involving Hunter-Reay “very thoroughly. The aeroscreen did an amazing job. It did what it was designed to do.

“I think if you look at the magnitude of what happened, and the condition that the current screen is in, it basically was untouched. There was some marks on the tearoffs, there was a wicker that goes down the front that was sheared off. Other than that it was basically unscathed.”

The aeroscreen worked during a similar airborne wreck in the July 17, 2020 race at Iowa Speedway involving Colton Herta and Rinus VeeKay during a restart incident at Iowa Speedway. VeeKay credited being unhurt in the crash to the aeroscreen.

Will Power also was protected from a loose left-front wheel that was jarred loose and went flying over his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet in a 2020 crash. Last year after the crash involving Hunter-Reay, Power told The Associated Press at St. Petersburg that the aeroscreen would have avoided the past two IndyCar driver fatalities: Dan Wheldon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2011 and Justin Wilson at Pocono Raceway in 2015.

“To me, it would have prevented the last two deaths,” Power said. “I’m pretty sure for Justin, it would have bounced off (the aeroscreen) and Dan would have ricocheted off (the fence). You can’t say for sure, but it’s a huge advancement. Huge.”

Callum Ilott (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

Ilott, 23, finished 16th of 27 cars at Texas in his racing debut on an oval the day after the crash involving Harvey (who missed the race because of concussion protocol). The Cambridge, England, native began racing in IndyCar last year after finishing runner-up in the 2020 F2 points standings as a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy.

Ilott is part of IndyCar’s six-driver rookie class in the 2022 season. He is ranked 16th in points through the first two races this year.

The Juncos Hollinger Racing driver also noted the aeroscreen of his No. 77 Dallara-Chevrolet sustained hardly any damage in the high-velocity impact with the part.

The IndyCar Series will be returning to the streets of Long Beach, California this weekend for the Acura Grand Prix (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, NBC and Peacock)

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