SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) - The IZOD IndyCar series officially announced on Thursday the return of the Triple Crown.
A driver who wins the Indianapolis 500, the Pocono IndyCar 400, and the Fontana IndyCar 500 will win a $1 million bonus. A driver who wins two of the three races will earn $250,000.
Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Rick Mears, Scott Dixon, and Ed Carpenter were on hand at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the announcement. The award will be sponsored by Fuzzy's Vodka, the primary sponsor of Carpenter's car.
"To win two 500-milers and a 400-miler, you have to do a lot right and have a lot of other things go your way as well," Carpenter said. "That's what makes the challenge so special and the Triple Crown so important. I think we're all happy to see the Triple Crown come back."
IndyCar had a Triple Crown award from 1971 to 1989. The only driver to win all three Triple Crown races in a single season was Al Unser in 1978.
"I'm surprised there's even one person that won it," Dixon said. "It's such a tough thing to even get this one race right, let alone two others, so I'd be happy to win two of the three. Three out of three would be fantastic."
Mears was racing full time the last time the Triple Crown was contested. He was asked if bragging rights were more important than the bonus money and trophy back in the 80s.
"All of the above," Mears joked. "Back then it was a $100,000, but a million, wow! That could call for me from coming out of retirement."
Mears is part of the exclusive four-time Indy 500 winner's club with Al Unser and A.J. Foyt. Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti both have a chance for their fourth victory this year.
"It was always a new day, a new race," Mears told 24-Hour News 8. "It didn't matter if I had won once or hadn't won it at all or had won three times. You always try to keep this place as another race on another track. That's the way I did it to keep the pressure off."
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