IRL: IndyCar announces new payout structure

The rewards of participation in the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series just got sweeter as the Indianapolis-based organization announced new monetary incentives for both the Indianapolis 500 and the full sixteen-race 2008 season. The program is...

The rewards of participation in the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series just got sweeter as the Indianapolis-based organization announced new monetary incentives for both the Indianapolis 500 and the full sixteen-race 2008 season.

The program is called IndyCar TEAM, an acronym for team enhancement and allocation matrix. It provides for a minimum payment to the team of $1.2 million for each car entered into competition for the full season, including the Indy 500.

The incentive begins with the 2008 IndyCar Series opener at Homestead Miami Speedway in March, 2008 and replaces the current event purse formula.

"The introduction of IndyCar TEAM is an expansion of the Series' Leader's Circle Program," said IRL President Brian Barnhart, "and further enhances the value of racing in the IndyCar Series for all of our teams."

The League also announced a greater purse for its showpiece event, the Indianapolis 500. The 2008 payout for the event is anticipated to top $13.4 million, an increase of twenty-five percent on 2007's distribution of $10.7 million.

"As the Indianapolis 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway approach some historic milestones in 2009 and 2011, it's only appropriate we strengthen the incentive to compete in 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,'" said Joie Chitwood, Chief Operating Officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The winner of the 92nd Indianapolis 500 on May 25th, 2008 could receive more than $2.5 million, a 42 percent increase over the record winner's payout of $1.76 million awarded to Buddy Rice in 2004.

The runner-up could earn at least $1.25 million, with the third-place finisher earning at least $750,000. Fourth- and fifth-place finishing cars will be guaranteed bonuses of $475,000 and $375,000, respectively.

In addition, the IndyCar Series champion will continue to receive a $1 million bonus, as in past seasons, with second through fifth place in the final point standings getting end-of-season bonuses of $250,000, $175,000, $125,000 and $75,000.

In addition to the guaranteed $1.2 million for participation in the series, teams will compete for bonuses of $35,000 for first place, $25,000 for second, $20,000 for third, $15,000 for fourth and $10,000 for fifth place at each IndyCar Series race outside of Indianapolis.

The IndyCar Series will continue to make a year-end "contingency payment" of unspecified amount as well.

The new payout structure effectively puts a floor of $1 million dollars in prize money into place for its regular participants in 2008.

The system will, in the League's estimation, lure new teams and cars to the open-wheel series which was founded by IMS owner Tony George in 1996.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Rice , Tony George , Brian Barnhart