De Ferran earns $1.35 Million for hard-fought Indy 500 win
Record $10.1-million purse awarded to field; Takagi named Rookie of the Year
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 26, 2003 -- Gil de Ferran, 2003 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race winner, earned $1,353,265 for his victory May 25 in the 87th running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," according to unofficial prize figures announced May 26 at the Indianapolis 500 Victory Celebration.
De Ferran's winnings were part of a record event purse totaling $10,151,830, which is comprised of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League awards, and other designated awards.
The previous record event purse was awarded in 2002, when the Speedway presented the 33 drivers and teams of the starting field with $10,028,580, the first time the purse surpassed the $10-million mark.
De Ferran, a 35-year-old native of Brazil and resident of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., won the "500" in the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone after taking the lead on Lap 170. Despite intense late-race pressure from Marlboro Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves and Andretti Green Racing driver Tony Kanaan, especially on two late-race restarts, de Ferran consistently turned laps in the 225-mph range to hold off his challengers and win his first Indianapolis 500. The average speed for the race was 156.291 mph.
The 2003 Indianapolis 500 finish was the closet 1-2-3 finish in event history, with de Ferran beating third-place Kanaan to the line by only 1.2475 seconds. Castroneves flashed across the start-finish line only .2990 of a second behind de Ferran, the third-closest margin among the top-two finishers in Indianapolis 500 history.
Castroneves won $739,665 for his runner-up performance in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, which included $100,000 for winning the MBNA Pole Award. He fell just short of becoming the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 three consecutive times.
Kanaan, driver of the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, took home $486,465.
Japanese driver Tora Takagi, driver of the No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, earned the Bank One Rookie of the Year Award and $25,000 for his fifth-place finish. Takagi was not only the highest-finishing rookie but also qualified an impressive seventh for the race.
1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier 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.
Highlights from the Victory Celebration will be telecast at 8:30 p.m. (EDT) May 27 on ESPN2. The 88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. (EST) May 30, 2004.