For Immediate Release
$1 MILLION IRL CHAMPIONSHIP FUND CAPS $10 MILLION SEASON
INDIANAPOLIS, July 11, 1996 -- A $1 million championship fund for the first Indy Racing League season will be awarded Friday to the auto racing series' top 20 drivers and entrants, it was announced today by Jack Long, IRL executive director.
Top payouts go to AJ Foyt Enterprises, $162,671; Team Menard, Inc., $139,750; and Team Scandia, $131,120. Hemelgarn Racing, Inc., with Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier, earned a $95,000 payout. Bradley Motorsports, which fielded Buzz Calkins to win the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World, collects $61,000 and completes the top five.
The $1 million IRL prize fund is a portion of the more than $10,200,000 in prize purses paid for the League's three-race inaugural season, all seen live on ABC Sports television. The season included the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World, the Dura-Lube 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, and the 80th Indianapolis 500. Half the fund, $500,000, is paid based on the drivers' points championship and the other half is based on the entrants' points championship.
The drivers championship was shared with 246 points each by Calkins and Scott Sharp (AJ Foyt Enterprises). Calkins won at Disney, was 6th at Phoenix and 17th at Indy. Sharp's three finishes were 11th at Disney, 2nd at Phoenix and 10th in the "500". The co-championship fund share was $31,000 each.
The entrant points title, based on specific car entries, goes to the #11 Conseco Lola Ford Cosworth fielded by AJ Foyt Enterprises. The car earned 261 points. It was driven by Sharp at Phoenix and Indy, while Mike Groff drove it to 6th place at Disney.
Foyt's $162,671 total came from the driver shares awarded to Sharp (co-1st, $31,000), Groff (6th, $21,671) and Davey Hamilton (9th, $25,500). Groff's 6th-place season finish was worth a total $27,000, with Walker Racing, Groff's team at Indy, receiving $5,329. Foyt's entrant shares were for cars #11 (1st, $32,000), #41 (7th, $26,500) and #14 (8th, $26,000).
The 1996-97 IRL schedule opens with the True Value 200 at Louden, NH, Aug. 18, and then goes to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Sept. 15, the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World, Jan. 25, 1997; Phoenix International Raceway, March 23, and concludes with the 81st Indianapolis 500, May 25. All IRL races are telecast live by ABC Sports.