Wheldon Gets Big Check
May 30, 2011 | 11:00 P.M. EST
Dan Wheldon smiles during Monday's trophy ceremonies at Indianapolis. (Photo: GettyImages)
Dan Wheldon earned $2,567,255 from an overall purse of $13,509,485 for his victory Sunday, May 29 in the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Wheldon's No. 98 William Rast-CURB/Big Machine car for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb/Agajanian passed JR Hildebrand's No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car on the final straightaway of the race after Hildebrand drifted high to avoid traffic in Turn 4 and hit the SAFER Barrier. It was the only lap of the race that Wheldon led, breaking the record for the fewest laps led by a winner, two, set by Joe Dawson in 1912.
England native Wheldon, who started sixth, became just the 18th driver to win the race at least twice. He also triumphed in 2005, when he also captured the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. Wheldon has six top-four finishes in nine career Indianapolis 500 starts, including second, second and first in the last three years, respectively.
Hildebrand, who started 12th, crossed the famous "Yard of Bricks" start-finish line on three wheels to place second, earning $1,064,895. He also won the prestigious Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year Award, which includes a $25,000 bonus and the Chase Rookie of the Year Trophy.
Graham Rahal climbed from the 29th starting spot to finish third in the No. 38 Service Central car fielded by Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing, the best position advancement of any driver in this year's race. He earned $646,945 for his career-best Indianapolis finish.
Tony Kanaan earned $438,745 for charging from 22nd to fourth in his #82 GEICO KV Racing Technology-Lotus. It was the fourth top-five finish at Indianapolis for 2004 IZOD IndyCar Series champion Kanaan.
2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon, who started in the middle of the front row and led a race-high 73 laps in his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry, earned $519,345 for finishing fifth. It was the fourth top-five finish at Indianapolis for two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dixon.
PEAK Performance Pole Award presented by AutoZone winner Alex Tagliani placed 28th after an accident on Lap 148 in his No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry but still earned $492,245.