Alonso receives Indy 500 Rookie of the Year award

Fernando Alonso, Indy 500 Rookie of the Year
© IndyCar Media

Fernando Alonso has been named official Rookie of the Year for his campaign in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.

Alonso received the award at the official victory celebrations held in Indianapolis on Monday evening.

The two-time world champion was the top-qualifying rookie in qualifying and started from fifth place. He led 27 laps, more than any other rookie, before suffering an engine failure. Alonso was running in seventh place with 21 laps remaining when he was forced to retire. He was ultimately classified as finishing in 24th.

Alonso earned $305,805 for his Indy 500 efforts, including the $50,000 bonus given to the driver named Sunoco Rookie of the Year. The skipped the Monaco Grand Prix held on the same day to take part in the race.

The race was eventually won by Alonso's Andretti Autosport team mate Takuma Sato, himself a former Formula 1 driver.

"Congratulations to Sato-san, and to Andretti," Alonso said. "Takuma was a lot of help, coming from Formula 1. The last two laps I was on my knees really pushing Sato. Extremely happy for the final result."

Sato earned his team $2,458,129 after becoming the 71st driver to win the event in its long history. Sato was the first Japanese winner - the best previous finish by a compatriot was Tora Takagi's fifth place in 2003.

"It is unbelievable," Sato said after celebrating with the traditional glass of milk in victory circle.

"Michael Andretti gave me a fantastic opportunity with his team. I want to thank all the 26 car guys and engineers, Honda, everyone.

"This is really awesome. The organisation is unbelievable. I'm so proud of the whole team, it's just a great victory. I'm so proud."

Sato narrowly missed out on victory in 2012 when he crashed out while dueling for the lead with Dario Franchitti. He said Sunday's win was a dream come true.

"I dreamed of something like this since I was 12. You don't just dream about it. Obviously, you prepare for the race. You want to win the race. I had huge ambition and I had to try."

Penske driver Helio Castroneves picked up $770,629 after finishing two tenths behind Sato in second place. Britain's Ed Jones was the top-placed rookie driver on Sunday, and earned $535,629 for Dale Coyne Racing.

Former Marussia F1 driver Max Chilton led a race-high 50 laps of the race, and picked up a cheque for $484,129. His Chip Ganassi Racing team mate Scott Dixon earned $446,629 after winning pole position for the race.

Dixon was involved in a horrific accident early in the race. Fortunately he was unhurt despite the violence of the impact following a collision with Jay Howard on lap 53.

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