IRL: Indy 500: Cheever Earns $1.43 Million of Record Purse

27 May 1998

INDIANAPOLIS - Eddie Cheever Jr. earned $1,433,000 of the largest purse in motorsports history for winning the 82nd Indianapolis 500, according to final prize figures announced during the Victory Banquet.


Eddie Cheever Jr.

The total purse was $8,722,150, an Indianapolis 500 record. The previous record was $8,612,450, set in the 1997 edition of the world's richest and most prestigious auto race. The purse is comprised of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pep Boys Indy Racing League awards, and designated and other awards.

Cheever, 40, from Tampa, Fla., beat 1996 Indy 500 champion Buddy Lazier by 3.191 seconds Sunday to claim his first "500" victory in the Rachel's Potato Chips Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear fielded by his Team Cheever. He became the first owner-driver to win the race since A.J. Foyt in 1977.

Lazier earned $483,200 for finishing second. Rookie Steve Knapp collected $338,750 for third, including $10,000 for being named Bank One Rookie of the Year. Pole sitter Billy Boat earned $364,200 - the third-highest sum this year - despite finishing 23rd. Various bonuses and designated awards for winning the pole, including the $100,000 PPG Pole Award, boosted Boat's total.

Cheever's winner's purse was the second largest in "500" history, trailing only the $1,568,150 earned by Arie Luyendyk for his victory last year. Luyendyk's total was larger because he won the event from the pole position, earning the PPG Pole Award and other pole-related designated awards.

A record 22 of the 33 starters this year earned more than $200,000, easily breaking the previous record of 13 set last year.

Prize amounts ranged from Cheever's winning total to $132,300 for rookie Donnie Beechler, who finished 32nd.

The 83rd Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 30, 1999.

1998 INDIANAPOLIS 500 FINAL PRIZE MONEY

Place Driver IMS/IRL Awards Designated Awards Total Awards 1 Eddie Cheever Jr. $934,000 $499,000 $1,433,000 2 Buddy Lazier 405,000 8,200 483,200 3 Steve Knapp 280,000 58,750 338,750 4 Davey Hamilton 273,000 28,650 301,650 5 Robby Unser 187,000 22,400 209,400 6 Kenny Brack 254,000 56,750 310,750 7 John Paul Jr. 171,000 45,350 216,350 8 Andy Michner 164,000 18,050 182,050 9 J.J. Yeley 158,000 40,550 198,550 10 Buzz Calkins 230,000 18,500 248,500 11 Jimmy Kite 251,000 36,300 287,300 12 Jack Hewitt 223,000 42,800 265,800 13 Jeff Ward 221,000 21,050 242,050 14 Marco Greco 142,000 25,800 167,800 15 Mike Groff 215,000 22,600 237,600 16 Scott Sharp 212,000 22,800 234,800 17 Stephan Gregoire 210,000 15,300 225,300 18 Greg Ray 133,000 42,400 175,400 19 Raul Boesel 206,000 15,300 221,300 20 Arie Luyendyk 209,000 32,100 241,100 21 Dr. Jack Miller 137,000 22,800 159,800 22 Roberto Guerrero 125,000 40,300 165,300 23 Billy Boat 199,000 165,200 364,200 24 Scott Goodyear 198,000 55,300 253,300 25 Johnny Unser 121,000 15,300 136,300 26 Sam Schmidt 195,000 20,300 215,300 27 Mark Dismore 194,000 15,300 209,300 28 Stan Wattles 118,000 20,550 138,550 29 Jim Guthrie 118,000 15,300 133,300 30 Billy Roe 117,000 20,300 137,300 31 Robbie Buhl 192,000 30,300 222,300 32 Donnie Beechler 117,000 15,300 132,300 33 Tony Stewart 191,000 29,250 220,250 Alt Eliseo Salazar 10,000 10,000 Engine Builder: Speedway Engines 500 500 Engine Builder: Brayton Engineering 2,000 2,000 Engine Builder: Comptech Engines 500 500 To Be Determined 1,000 1,000 TOTALS: $7,100,000 $1,622,150 $8,722,150

Editors Note: The images displayed in this article (plus many more) can be viewed in The Racing Image Galleries and the Visions of Speed Art Gallery.

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