Skip to content

Big accolades, checks and laughs at Indy 500 Victory Awards Celebration

May 27, 2014, 12:32 PM EDT

Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

MotorSportsTalk recaps the Indianapolis 500 banquet night, which brought the curtain down on a successful and more buzz-worthy Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

By Chris Estrada: Another Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway wound down last night with the Victory Awards Celebration, where ‘500’ winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was the guest of honor.

The American driver, who held off Helio Castroneves in the second-closest finish in Indy history, took home $2,491,194 from a total purse of more than $14 million.

RHR led 56 laps after starting 19th; the last time a driver led the most laps in the ‘500’ from a lower starting position was in 1975, when Wally Dallenbach Sr. paced 96 circuits after rolling off 21st (a blown piston relegated him to a ninth-place finish).

Castroneves just missed becoming the fourth four-time winner of the ‘500,’ but picked up a tidy sum of $785,194 for his runner-up performance. Third-place finisher Marco Andretti will have to wait another year to break the Andretti Curse, but still banked $585,194.

Carlos Munoz followed up his eye-opening debut in last year’s ‘500’ with a steady run to fourth last Sunday, and that earned him a check for $449,194. Juan Pablo Montoya netted $441,944 for finishing fifth in his first ‘500’ since winning his only other Indy start in 2000.

Sunoco ‘500’ Rookie of the Year honors went to NASCAR star Kurt Busch, who started 12th and finished sixth in his IndyCar debut for Andretti Autosport. His total winnings of $423,889 included a $25,000 bonus from Sunoco.

Busch ran the ‘500’ in his quest to run the full 1,100-mile ‘Double’ of Indy and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Unfortunately for him, Busch was stopped at 906 miles when he suffered an engine failure in the ‘600.’

By Tony DiZinno: The Indy 500 banquet night is traditionally a great night of viewing. For as stressed, on edge and focused as the drivers, crews and teams have to be for the rest of the month, the banquet is a great chance for everyone to reflect, relax, crack some jokes, and soak up all the moments that made this month magical.

You also get to see a side of the drivers that you don’t for the rest of the month. Personalities emerge as the guys take chances to riff on each other, all in good fun.

Graham Rahal kicked the night off with earning $341,194 for finishing 33rd and last, and then made the comment that if he or Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate Oriol Servia didn’t win, he hoped Hunter-Reay did. Scott Dixon took that line a bit further when he said, “Graham Rahal, you told me the same thing.”

And then… we got to James Hinchcliffe and Ed Carpenter. On Tuesday before the race, front-row starters Hinch and Ed enjoyed having some playful banter in Milwaukee. But on Sunday, the two collided in Turn 1 as Townsend Bell made it through on the outside.

Luckily, the immediate frustration of both drivers being out on the spot on Sunday shifted back to pleasantries and banter when these two took the stage to accept their prize money.

Hinchcliffe was introduced by a Justin Bieber song (songs were picked based on the driver’s native country or hometown… Hinch is Canadian), and the “Mayor” promptly ripped on the selection committee for the choice.

Asked whether he and Carpenter had kissed and made up, Hinch replied, “Soft lips. Soft lips. You’re a lucky woman, Heather (Carpenter, Ed’s wife).”

But Carpenter got the last laugh when he came up next. “His check isn’t big enough; if it was, he’d have proposed,” Carpenter joked, which sent the room into an uproar. “Sorry how it worked out, Kirsten.”

Seriously, INDYCAR, get these two a show soon…

Anyway, through the rest of the field, rookie James Davison’s speech stood out as he got ultra emotional in calling his first start “the best day of his life.” Alex Tagliani paid tribute to wife Bronte by saying “Yes, she’s hot … she’s got the heart of an angel.” Simon Pagenaud paid tribute to the entire month saying, “We won 50 percent of the race in May so we’ll share that with Ryan!”

Busch was overcome by the moment, too. “I’ve done the Daytona 500… the Coca-Cola 600… and the Brickyard 400… but the Indianapolis 500 will blow you away,” he said. “I’m blown away by the challenge of the open-wheel world. My career was at a crossroads.”

Lastly Hunter-Reay took the stage with a measured, polished and thankful speech to round out the night.


Latest Posts
  1. Andretti to field No. 25 car at Sonoma; Oriol Servia to drive Wilson tribute car

    Aug 27, 2015, 6:14 PM EDT

    ServiaRLLreturn Getty Images

    Oriol Servia will race in what was Justin Wilson’s car this weekend at Sonoma.

  2. IndyCars cross the Golden Gate Bridge; pay tribute to Justin Wilson (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

    Aug 27, 2015, 4:21 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    IndyCars cross the Golden Gate Bridge in a motorcade, for pre-title buildup and to pay tribute to Justin Wilson.

  3. Aleshin geared up ahead of IndyCar return at Sonoma

    Aug 27, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    TORONTO - JULY 18:  Mikhail Aleshin of Russia driver of the #7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara Honda during practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto on July 18, 2014, in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Aleshin returns to IndyCar this weekend after a year away.

  4. Special liveries, Wilson tribute stickers set for IndyCar’s Sonoma season finale

    Aug 27, 2015, 3:14 PM EDT

    BadAssWilsonlogo

    All cars to carry special tribute logos, decals for Justin Wilson this weekend, with Wilson’s old team also paying tribute.

  5. Win or bust for Rahal at Sonoma in chase for IndyCar title

    Aug 27, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    rahal Getty Images

    Rahal out to claim his third win of the season at Sonoma, believing it will be the only way to beat Juan Pablo Montoya to the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series title.

  6. Report: Chilton in F1 talks with Haas, but remains unsure about chances

    Aug 27, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 12:  Max Chilton of Great Britain and Marussia speaks with members of the media during the Russian Formula One Grand Prix at Sochi Autodrom on October 12, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Max Chilton has two years of F1 experience under his belt, but believes Ferrari will have a big say in who Haas hires for 2016.

  7. Vettel: One-stop strategy at Spa was never risky

    Aug 27, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    vettel Getty Images

    Vettel defends Ferrari’s decision to try a one-stop strategy at Spa after suffering a tire failure on the penultimate lap of the race.

  8. Fast Facts: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

    Aug 27, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT

    SonomaCrash AP

    Fast facts heading into this weekend’s season finale, the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, courtesy of IndyCar PR staff.

  9. Rossi: GP2 victory in Belgium “perfect timing”

    Aug 27, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    Victory at Spa gives Rossi momentum heading into the final four rounds of the 2015 season, and potentially in the race for a seat with Haas F1 Team next season.

  10. Porsche extends LMP1 commitment by three more years

    Aug 27, 2015, 8:36 AM EDT

    The Porsche 919 Hybrid No19 of the Porsche Team driven by Nico Hulkenberg of Germany, Earl Bamber of New Zealand and Nick Tandy of Great Britain crosses the finish line to win the 83rd 24-hour Le Mans endurance race ahead of the Porsche 919 Hybrid No17 driven by Timo Bernhard of Germany, Marck Webber of Australia and Brendon Hartley of New Zealand, in Le Mans, western France, Sunday, June 14, 2015. (AP Photo/David Vincent) AP

    Off the back of winning Le Mans, Porsche confirms it will stay in the FIA World Endurance Championship for at least another three years.

  11. NHRA: Pro Stock driver Erica Enders hitting on all cylinders heading into U.S. Nationals

    Aug 26, 2015, 8:08 PM EDT

    Erica Enders (Photo courtesy NHRA) Erica Enders (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    Just in time for the biggest race in drag racing, next weekend’s (Sept. 2-7) NHRA U.S. Nationals, Erica Enders is back where she wants to be: leading the NHRA Pro Stock point standings.

  12. IndyCar championship winning scenarios for six finalists

    Aug 26, 2015, 6:06 PM EDT

    go pro indy car logo 2015

    Double the amount of base points, in addition to bonus points, could have a major impact on who emerges as the 2015 IndyCar Series champion Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.

  13. IndyCar: After Pocono DNFs from contact, mechanical failures, teams need to rebuild ahead of Sonoma

    Aug 26, 2015, 3:52 PM EDT

    pocono raceway logo

    This past Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway proved to be a very costly proposition for numerous teams.

  14. ABC Supply 500 post-event infractions, manufacturer championship points update

    Aug 26, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    INDYCAR announced on Wednesday several infractions and manufacturer championship points updates following this past Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.

  15. IndyCar flashback: Justin Wilson finishes second, Will Power/Scott Dixon controversy at Sonoma 2013 (video)

    Aug 26, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Day 2 Getty Images

    There will likely be heavy hearts, tears and a great deal of emotion at this weekend’s season-ending Go-Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma, as the mourning for driver Justin Wilson continues.

  16. Six remaining IndyCar championship contenders to be busy in the days leading up to big race at Sonoma

    Aug 26, 2015, 1:27 PM EDT

    indycar logo

    The six remaining Verizon IndyCar Series contenders will be pretty busy over the next few days prior to Sunday’s championship-deciding Go-Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

  17. Remembering Justin Wilson (VIDEO)

    Aug 25, 2015, 5:57 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Allmendinger, Castroneves, Diffey and more reflect on the life lived by Justin Wilson.

  18. WATCH LIVE: Justin Wilson remembered on Tuesday’s NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET, NBCSN

    Aug 25, 2015, 3:59 PM EDT

    Justin Wilson AP

    Tribute to Justin Wilson set to air on Tuesday night’s NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN.

  19. Brother Stefan Wilson confirms Justin Wilson was an organ donor

    Aug 25, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT

    Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - Day 1 Getty Images

    Justin Wilson saves six lives with organ donation, his brother confirms.

  20. Formula E: Prost concludes Donington test on top; Andretti set for powertrain revert

    Aug 25, 2015, 1:57 PM EDT

    © FIA Formula E © FIA Formula E

    Prost leads while Andretti FE makes powertrain switch to cap off Formula E testing at Donington Park.