Johnson wins Indy 500 rookie of the year, Ericsson gets $3m prize purse

Jimmie Johnson was voted as the 2022 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year, despite the Chip Ganassi Racing driver crashing out of the IndyCar blue riband in the closing stages.

Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

The seven-time NASCAR Cup champion was contesting his first Indy 500 and only his second oval race in an open-wheeler after adding ovals to his road-course-only 2021 schedule.

After a strong Month of May for the five-car Ganassi squad, with his four team-mates making the Fast Six pole shootout, Johnson impressed by qualifying 12th.

In the race, Johnson led for two laps during pit cycles but was running outside the top 20 when he crashed at Turn 2 with six laps to go, bringing out the red flag. He was eventually classified 28th.

"Tough day at the office today," said Johnson afterwards.

"I absolutely loved my experience of my first Indianapolis 500, track position was way more important than we thought it would be, and I struggled to really advance in the field.

"And then sadly, the car just got away from me at the end and we crashed at Turn 2."

David Malukas was the best-placed rookie, finishing 16th for Dale Coyne Racing ahead of fellow rookies Kyle Kirkwood (AJ Foyt Enterprises) and Christian Lundgaard (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) in 17th and 18th places.

But because the award doesn’t necessarily go to the highest-placed rookie and instead is voted on by leading figures in racing and media members, Malukas wasn't a cert to pick up the award.

Ed Jones finished third for Dale Coyne in 2017 but Fernando Alonso instead won rookie of the year despite being classified 24th, after an engine failure sidelined his Andretti Autosport entry.

Johnson's recognition as the best rookie during Monday night's Victory Celebration prompted the Coyne team to tweet: "We all know that @malukasdavid is the actual Indy 500 Rookie of the Year. Maybe actually finishing the race needs to be part of the criteria."


Malukas wrote: "That one stings. Well, congrats to Jimmie."

The $50,000 bonus Johnson earns means he won a total of $207,900 from the record-breaking total purse of $16 million. Prior to 2022, the biggest Indy 500 purse was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indy 500.

Victory for Marcus Ericsson earned the Swede the largest winner’s payout ever, at $3.1 million, while this year’s average payout for drivers was $485,000.

“The Indianapolis 500 is the greatest race in the world, and these drivers lay it all on the line for a chance to drink the winner’s milk and kiss the famous Yard of Bricks,” said Roger Penske, owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar.

“This year’s record-setting purse is reflective of their tireless pursuit of history and the world-class talent they display on every lap.”

Related video

Previous article Ganassi: Ericsson Indy 500 win down to him understanding team ethic
Next article The hard luck stories afflicting expected 2022 Indy 500 contenders