Franchitti earns $2.8 million for Indy 500 win |

Franchitti earns $2.8 million for Indy 500 win

Cliff Brunt, The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis 500 victory dinner quickly became a tribute to Dario Franchitti’s dominance.

Franchitti led 155 of the 200 laps. He passed previous winner Helio Castroneves early, then remained in control for much of Sunday’s race.

“I think your push to pass button must have been stuck on,” Will Power said.

Franchitti earned $2,752,055 for his win.

“That’s a lot of money in any currency,” he said.

His earnings were part of an overall purse of $13,592,815. The paychecks were announced Monday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Danica Patrick, who finished sixth, noted that Franchitti’s speeds during the race were similar to her qualifying times.

Others echoed similar sentiments.

“I saw you pushing all that clean air all race long,” Townsend Bell said. “I was pretty jealous.”

“When you came by me, I felt like I had a parachute on my car,” Tomas Scheckter added.

Dan Wheldon, the second-place finisher for the second straight year, gave Franchitti credit.

“The deserved guy won, and I want to congratulate him,” Wheldon, the 2005 winner, said.

The Gordon Pipers marched in front of the stage before Franchitti accepted his check, something that the Scotsman said made him emotional. He thanked his team and owner Chip Ganassi before reflecting on the performance.

“The car felt good on Carb Day (Friday), so I wanted to get out front quickly,” he said. “The first lap, I thought ‘This car is really quick.’ And it kept getting better and better.”

He also thanked his wife, actress Ashley Judd, who sat with him during the dinner. He noticed that she ran and waved at fans after his victory. She even lost a shoe at one point before quickly retrieving it.

“I’ve got to thank my wife, for her support and a pretty athletic run down pit lane yesterday,” he said.

Ganassi, who received a ring for being the winning owner, praised Franchitti.

“It was great to see you win,” he said, “because as we know, the dominant car doesn’t always win.”

Wheldon earned just over $1 million, and third-place finisher Marco Andretti earned $630,505.

Castroneves, the three-time winner and polesitter, earned $545,655 for finishing ninth.

Franchitti also won the Indy 500 in 2007, when he earned $1,645,233.

Franchitti drove in NASCAR in 2008, but struggled. He came back to IndyCar and picked up where he left off. He won the IndyCar points championship in 2009, then kissed the bricks with Judd after Sunday’s win.

“I think we’re getting back to the glory days, and I’m so glad to be back here and be a part of it.”

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