2021 Indy 500 Purse: I do not know about you, but I am going through Indy 500 withdrawals. The opportunity to be in-person at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch Helio Castroneves capture his fourth Borg-Warner Trophy was nothing short of remarkable.
After the victory, Castroneves put himself in an elite category, with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears as the only drivers to win four Indianapolis 500 races.
The next race on the NTT IndyCar Series schedule will occur on June 12 and 13 with the Detroit Grand Prix. Not having IndyCar this weekend is the right move for the drivers after spending the past month in Indianapolis.
However, it’s painful for IndyCar fans who are still going through Indy 500 hangovers one week removed from the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
With no racing this weekend, I had no choice but to examine the 2021 Indy 500 purse.
2021 Indy 500 Purse: Castroneves Increases his Net Worth
The entire field has a nice payday for being one of the 33 drivers to make the cut after qualifying. The last place driver in 2021, Stefan Wilson, still earned $100,305. This money has to be split between the drivers, owners, and crew, but it’s still a decent chunk of change for coming in last place.
The difference between Wilson and Castroneves is massive. The four-time champion earned $1,828,305 for crossing the bricks first last Sunday. This was a 33% rise from the 2020 grand prize.
2021 Indy 500 Purse: Significant Rise From 2020
The lack of fans at the 2020 Indy 500 caused the purse to be lower than a typical year. Sports budgets around the world shrunk because of the virus, so this was nothing unique to IndyCar.
The Indy 500 is the largest outdoor sporting event in the world. No fans at the venue cost the Indianapolis Motor Speedway money in 2020. With 40% capacity, the race committee raised the entire purse for the 2021 event.
The 2021 Indy 500 purse totaled $8,854,565, which was approximately $1.35 million higher than last year’s race. Takuma Sato, the 2017 and 2020 winner, felt the effect of the smaller purse. He earned more in 2017 than 2020 for being victorious in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
2020 was the smallest Indy 500 purse since 1991 and the lowest winner’s check since 2003. Castroneves may not have received a usual amount, but it was much better than Sato’s check in 2020.
The record for race purse is $15 million, and this is likely to beat in the coming years as fans return to the stands at full capacity.
Here is the complete list of earnings from the 2021 Indy 500 purse.
2. Alex Palou, $649,305
3. Simon Pagenaud, $403,305
4. Pato O’Ward, $343,305
5. Ed Carpenter, $286,305
6. Santino Ferrucci, $157,305
7. Sage Karam, $162,305
8. Rinus VeeKay, $302,805
9. Juan Pablo Montoya, $135,305
10. Tony Kanaan, $130,305
11. Marcus Ericsson, $225,305
12. Josef Newgarden, $220,305
13. Conor Daly, $212,305
14. Takuma Sato, $222,305
15. JR Hildebrand, $110,305
16. Colton Herta, $252,305
17. Scott Dixon, $316,305
18. Jack Harvey, $200,305
19. Marco Andretti, $100,305
20. Scott McLaughlin, $151,305
21. James Hinchcliffe, $200,305
22. Ryan Hunter-Reay, $200,305
23. Dalton Kellett, $200,305
24. Max Chilton, $200,305
25. Pietro Fittipaldi, $210,305
26. Sebastien Bourdais, $200,305
27. Felix Rosenqvist, $214,305
28. Ed Jones, $200,305
29. Alexander Rossi, $200,305
30. Will Power, $200,305
31. Simona De Silvestro, $100,305
32. Graham Rahal, $217,305
33. Stefan Wilson, $100,305
Tanner Kern is a writer for Knup Sports and the Sports 2.0 Network. He is the host of Between the Lines, the official show of Baseball Spotlight, and the main contributor for the website. Connect with Tanner on IG @tannerkern and Twitter @tannerkern_.