Rice Earns Record Sum From Largest Indy 500 Purse in History
Winner awarded $1.7 million of $10.2-million purse; Matsuura named Rookie of the Year
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 31, 2004 -- Buddy Rice earned $1,761,740 from a total purse of $10,250,580 for his victory May 30 in the 88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, the largest winner's and overall awards in the history of the race.
The unofficial prize figures were announced May 31 at the Indianapolis 500 Victory Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Rice's winning purse exceeded the prior record of $1,606,215 earned by Helio Castroneves for his second victory in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," in 2002. Rice's total included $100,000 for winning the MBNA Pole, as he became the first pole winner to triumph in the race since Arie Luyendyk in 1997.
This year's event purse broke the previous record of $10,151,830, set in 2003. This is the third consecutive year the overall purse for the field of 33 drivers has exceeded $10 million. The event purse is comprised of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League awards, and other designated awards.
Rice, a 28-year-old native of Phoenix, earned his first Indianapolis 500 victory in his second start while driving the No. 15 Rahal-Letterman Argent/Pioneer Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone. He led 91 of 180 laps, as the race ended under caution after 450 of 500 scheduled miles due to rain. It was Rice's first career Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series victory.
1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal and late-night television icon David Letterman, an Indianapolis native, are the co-owners of Rice's winning car.
Tony Kanaan earned $659,240 for finishing second in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone. His Andretti Green Racing teammate, Dan Wheldon, finished third in the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone and earned $533,040.
Kosuke Matsuura, driver of the No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone, earned the Bank One Rookie of the Year Award and its $25,000 bonus. Matsuura, 24, from Aichi, Japan, was the highest-finishing rookie, placing 11th, and also the top-qualifying rookie, starting ninth in an entry fielded by Super Aguri Fernandez Racing.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Castroneves was awarded the Scott Brayton Driver's Trophy, presented since 1997 to the driver who exemplifies the character and racing spirit of the late Scott Brayton.
The 89th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is scheduled for May 29, 2005.