Penske Entertainment has reacted to an unending volley of criticism for its handling of the advancement awards presented to Indy Lights champion Linus Lundqvist in 2022 by making a number of improvements to benefit its next title winner, those who fill out the championship podium, and the series’ winning team.
Penske Entertainment has added $350,000 to the champion’s advancement prize, bringing it to $850,000. Kyle Kirkwood, the last Indy Lights champion crowned prior to Penske Entertainment’s takeover of the series, received $1.2 million which went towards paying for a full-time seat in IndyCar with A.J. Foyt Racing. Lundqvist, Penske Entertainment’s first Indy Lights champion, received $500,000, and has been unable to find an IndyCar team that is able to do anything with the comparatively small stipend.
With the 2023 Indy NXT champion’s $850,000 in hand, the series says the funds can “be applied to an oval test at Texas Motor Speedway, IMS Open Test/ROP, the Indy 500 and an additional 2024 NTT IndyCar Series event,” and “the champion will also receive an IndyCar test on the IMS road course.”
Indy NXT’s runner-up will take home $125,000 and the third-place driver is due to earn $65,000. The champion’s team is set to collect $35,000, and purses for each race will have teams taking home $15,000 to win, $5000 for finishing second, and $2500 for third.
Penske Entertainment says the total prize fund for the season has increased to $1.4 million.