IRL: Indy 500: Award night report

WHELDON EARNS $1.5 MILLION FROM LARGEST INDY 500 PURSE IN HISTORY Patrick named JPMorgan Chase Rookie of the Year following historic fourth-place finish INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 30, 2005 -- Dan Wheldon earned $1,537,805 from a record total...

WHELDON EARNS $1.5 MILLION FROM LARGEST INDY 500 PURSE IN HISTORY
Patrick named JPMorgan Chase Rookie of the Year following historic fourth-place finish

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 30, 2005 -- Dan Wheldon earned $1,537,805 from a record total purse of $10,304,815 for his hard-fought victory May 29 in the 89th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. The winner's purse and total purse were announced May 30 at the Indianapolis 500 Victory Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This year's event purse broke the record set in 2004, which was $10,250,580. This is the fourth consecutive year the overall purse for the field of 33 drivers has exceeded $10 million. The event purse is comprised of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing League and sponsor awards, and other designated awards.

Wheldon, a 26-year-old native of Emberton, England, and resident of St. Petersburg, Fla., earned the first Indianapolis 500 victory of his career in his third Indy start, driving the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

He led four times for 30 laps, becoming the first driver ever to win from the 16th starting position and the first British driver to win the Indianapolis 500 since Graham Hill in 1966. The 89th running of the "500" featured a total of 27 lead changes among seven drivers, only two lead changes shy of the record set in 1960.

Vitor Meira earned $656,955 for finishing an Indy career-best second in the No. 17 Rahal Letterman Menards Johns Manville Panoz/Honda/Firestone. Bryan Herta, Wheldon's Andretti Green Racing teammate and driver of the No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone, earned $457,505 for finishing third, also a career-best result at Indianapolis.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone, earned the JPMorgan Chase Rookie of the Year Award and its $25,000 bonus as part of her overall winnings of $378,855.

Patrick, 23, from Roscoe, Ill., was the highest-finishing rookie, placing fourth. She became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and the highest-finishing woman in the race's history. Patrick led three times for 19 laps, and led as late as Lap 193 of the 200-lap race before Wheldon passed her on Lap 194 to take the lead for good.

Kenny Brack was awarded the Scott Brayton Driver's Trophy, presented since 1997 to the driver who best exemplifies the character and racing spirit of the late Scott Brayton. Brack made his first Indy 500 start since 2003 this year, completing a remarkable comeback from serious injuries suffered in an accident at the season-ending race in October 2003 at Texas.

The 90th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is scheduled for May 28, 2006.

-ims-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Dan Wheldon , Graham Hill , Jim Beam , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira