The NTT IndyCar Series is introducing one hell of a great bonus prize for the upcoming 2022 season: The first driver to win races on an oval, street circuit, and road course will win a $1 million prize, which they’ll split with their team and a charity. That’s a pretty huge deal for IndyCar, which has really started to find its footing in recent years after a tumultuous past.
It’s called the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge, and it’s coming from PeopleReady, an industrial staffing company that sponsors the Rahal Letterman Lanigan racing team. The whole goal here is to split the $1 million prize equally between an IndyCar driver (who will then share some of that money with their team) and a charity of the driver’s choice. That driver just has to be the first to win on each style of circuit on the IndyCar schedule.
That’s honestly a pretty huge deal; the series hasn’t exactly been known for its beefy prize pots for any event that’s not the Indianapolis 500, in large part because the series has been struggling to find itself after decades of splits and reunifications. For many drivers and teams, an extra $500,000 would still be life-changing money.
PeopleReady, though, is banking on the fact that IndyCar is full of diverse competition, which will keep this challenge spicy all season long. Theoretically, a driver could win this prize after the first four races of the year (St. Pete and Long Beach are street circuits, Texas Motor Speedway is an oval, and Barber is a road course) — but the chances of a single driver taking victory at all of those races are slim... unless Scott Dixon revives his dominant 2020 form.
It’s more likely we’ll see competition akin to 2021, where there were 10 different winners in 16 races and where the only two drivers to win three races didn’t complete the oval-road-street trifecta. (Colton Herta took victory on two street circuits and one road course; Alex Palou won exclusively on road courses.)
Of course, other drivers have taken victory at all three styles of track in recent years: Dixon in 2015, Will Power in 2016, Josef Newgarden in 2017 and 2020, Alexander Rossi in 2018, and Simon Pagenaud in 2019. No one, though, completed the trifecta in the first half of the season.
Whatever the case ends up being, this $1 million prize is going to add a lot of extra spice to the 2022 season.