Past Indy 500 Winners, Prize Money, & Average Speed

The Indy 500 is the biggest IRL racing event of the year, and one of the biggest races to ever take place. Winning this event can make or break a career, just as many people judge other sports teams on whether or not they win championships.

The 2017 Indy 500 is set to take place on Sunday, May 28th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during your Memorial Day weekend. This prestigious race has taken place since the early 1900’s and is a tradition unlike any other.

How Much Money Indy Winners Make

This year marks the 101st running of the Indy 500 with only a few years taken off due to the two World Wars. Many of the drivers would tell you the money isn’t near as big of deal as crossing that finish line first, but whoever ends up winning the race will also be taking home a solid paycheck.

The total purse last year reached almost $13.3 million.  Alexander Rossi earned just over $2.5 million of that purse for winning the 2016 Indy 500.  The final purse each year is decided by a number of factors including attendance and television viewership, so the final amount isn’t known until after the race.  Historically, the winner takes home 2-3 times the earnings of the next-best finisher.

You might also be surprised to learn that final finishing position doesn’t necessarily determine how much money a driver will make.  Qualifying position, plus number of laps lead, plus a number of other factors are all considered when final paychecks are made.  For example, in 2016, Juan Pablo Montoya was paid $339,493 despite finishing in 33rd (last) and only completing 63 of 200 laps.  That’s considerably more than sixth-place finisher JR Hildebrand took home having completed the race and leading for 4 of the 200 laps.

List of Indy 500 Winners & Average Speed in Miles Per Hour

Year Driver Avg. MPH
2016 Alexander Rossi 166.634
2015 Juan Pablo Montoya 161.341
2014 Ryan Hunter-Reay 186.563
2013 Tony Kanaan 187.433
2012 Dario Franchitti 167.734
2011 Dan Wheldon 170.265
2010 Dario Franchitti 161.623
2009 Helio Castroneves 150.318
2008 Scott Dixon 143.567
2007 Dario Franchitti 151.774
2006 Sam Hornish Jr. 157.085
2005 Dan Wheldon 157.603
2004 Buddy Rice 138.518
2003 Gil de Ferran 156.291
2002 Helio Castroneves 166.499
2001 Helio Castroneves 141.574
2000 Juan Pablo Montoya 167.607
1999 Kenny Brack 153.176
1998 Eddie Cheever Jr. 145.155
1997 Arie Luyendyk 145.827
1996 Buddy Lazier 147.956
1995 Jacques Villeneuve 153.616
1994 Al Unser Jr. 160.872
1993 Emerson Fittipaldi 157.207
1992 Al Unser Jr. 134.477
1991 Rick Mears 176.457
1990 Arie Luyendyk 185.981
1989 Emerson Fittipaldi 167.581
1988 Rick Mears 144.809
1987 Al Unser 162.175
1986 Bobby Rahal 170.722
1985 Danny Sullivan 152.982
1984 Rick Mears 163.612
1983 Tom Sneva 162.117
1982 Gordon Johncock 162.029
1981 Bobby Unser 139.084
1980 Johnny Rutherford 142.862
1979 Rick Mears 158.899
1978 Al Unser 161.363
1977 A.J. Foyt Jr. 161.331
1976 Johnny Rutherford 148.725
1975 Bobby Unser 149.213
1974 Johnny Rutherford 158.589
1973 Gordon Johncock 159.036
1972 Mark Donohue 162.962
1971 Al Unser 157.735
1970 Al Unser 155.749
1969 Mario Andretti 156.867
1968 Bobby Unser 152.882
1967 A.J. Foyt 151.207
1966 Graham Hill 144.317
1965 Jim Clark 150.686
1964 A.J. Foyt Jr. 147.35
1963 Parnelli Jones 143.137
1962 Rodger Ward 140.293
1961 A.J. Foyt 139.13
1960 Jim Rathman 138.767
1959 Rodger Ward 135.857
1958 Jimmy Bryan 133.791
1957 Sam Hanks 135.601
1956 Pat Flaherty 128.49
1955 Bob Sweikert 128.213
1954 Bill Vukovich 130.84
1953 Bill Vukovich 128.74
1952 Troy Ruttman 128.922
1951 Lee Wallard 126.244
1950 Johnnie Parsons 124.002
1949 Bill Holland 121.327
1948 Mauri Rose 119.814
1947 Mauri Rose 116.338
1946 George Robson 114.82
1945 No Race (WWII) N/A
1944 No Race (WWII) N/A
1943 No Race (WWII) N/A
1942 No Race (WWII) N/A
1941 Floyd Davis/Mauri Rose 115.117
1940 Wilbur Shaw 114.277
1939 Wilbur Shaw 115.035
1938 Floyd Roberts 117.2
1937 Wilbur Shaw 113.58
1936 Louis Meyer 109.069
1935 Kelly Petillo 106.24
1934 Bill Cummings 104.863
1933 Louis Meyer 104.162
1932 Fred Frame 104.144
1931 Louis Schneider 96.629
1930 Billy Arnold 100.448
1929 Ray Keech 97.585
1928 Louis Meyer 99.482
1927 George Souders 97.545
1926 Frank Lockhart 95.904
1925 Peter DePaolo 101.127
1924 Joe Boyer/L.L. Corum 98.234
1923 Tommy Milton 90.954
1922 Jimmy Murphy 94.484
1921 Tommy Milton 89.621
1920 Gaston Chevrolet 88.618
1919 Howdy Wilcox 88.05
1918 No Race (WWI) N/A
1917 No Race (WWI) N/A
1916 Dario Resta 84.001
1915 Ralph DePalma 89.84
1914 Rene Thomas 82.474
1913 Jules Goux 75.933
1912 Joe Dawson 78.719
1911 Ray Harroun 74.602
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