By: Tanner Watkins
June 21, 2019 | 7:30 AM
Good morning, IndyCar fans! Today we kick off yet another race weekend in the 2019 championship, this time from the gorgeous Road America circuit in Wisconsin.
While it was nice to get a little breather in the break between Texas and Road America, we are ready to roll here at Open-Wheels for more twists and turns as the NTT IndyCar Series prepares for this season’s home stretch.
This morning, I will take a look at previewing some fantasy picks ahead of Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix and give you some ideas to lean on before you make your picks. Anything can happen at Road America, but I have confidence coming into this weekend!
Remember, the IndyCar fantasy rules on Fantrax require players to select four drivers at a cumulative salary of $100 or less – and if you haven’t joined a league just yet, find our Open-Wheels group here!
Now, lets get down to it.
Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing) $22
I lead off with Seb this weekend because he arguably offers the most value when compared to past performance. The Honda driver slots in at an incredibly cheap $22 in the Fantrax salary cost, a nice start to our lineup this weekend.
Bourdais is perhaps the most accomplished driver in the field this weekend when it comes to racing at Road America. In six starts recognized by the NTT IndyCar Series, Bourdais has one win (2007), four podium finishes, two pole awards and an average finishing position of 6.7.
In each of Bourdais’ six starts, the Frenchman has finished the race while also leading all active drivers with 92 laps led at the long Wisconsin circuit. Look to slide Seb into your four-man crew for some top-end value.
Josef Newgarden (Team Penske) $34
We go from max value to max salary in this next review on Tennessee native Josef Newgarden. The Team Penske driver is having another stellar season and leads the points, but you will have to pay a premium to rope in his services for this weekend.
Perhaps the $34 price tag is worth it, though. In three Road America starts, Newgarden has finished off the podium just once while winning the race last year. He has an absurd average finish of 3.7 and has even grabbed a pole at Elkhart Lake.
In just three starts, Newgarden has the second-most laps led at Road America among all active drivers – trailing only the aforementioned Bourdais. This is certainly a place where Newgarden could pad his championship lead, and that does not bode well for the rest of the field.
Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) $29
I feel like we could place Scott Dixon in the “favorites” category every week, no matter the track or racing discipline, and people would go along with it due to his immense talent. A former winner at Road America, Dixon should be in the thick of things once again come Sunday.
The New Zealand native has a tidy average starting position of 4.6 at Elkhart Lake, but his average finish marker dips down to 9.4 across five career starts in Wisconsin. He does have the one win (2017) and two podium runs to his name, but Dixon has two DNFs as well in those five starts at Road America.
If Scotty can stay out of trouble then look for him to be a contender to move up in the points.
Will Power (Team Penske) $27
You may ask, how in the world is Will Power possibly a sleeper in any NTT IndyCar Series race? Well, if you take a look at his past numbers, there isn’t much reason to believe he is a favorite this weekend.
In five starts at Road America, Power has an average finishing position of 11.6 – that is 10th out of the 17 drivers competing this weekend who have recorded a start at Elkhart Lake. Furthermore, Power has two DNFs in that tenure that includes a last-place finish in 2018 due to a mechanical failure.
With that being said, he is indeed a former race winner at Road America (2016) and the Aussie driver carries an impeccable 2.8 average starting position into this weekend.
At $27, the price tag is a little high to gamble on Power making a splash considering his past, but he could work on improving that average finish this weekend if the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet stays clean.
Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) $24
The second-best value in the field this weekend has to come in the form of Graham Rahal. The Ohio native has been sneaky good at Road America in four career starts, and his price tag certainly warrants a selection.
In those four appearances at Road America, Rhaal has a stout 6.3 average starting position and an even better average finishing position of fifth. While he hasn’t won at Road America yet, Rahal has two podium finishes to his name here and could easily join the list of active winners this weekend.
At $24, it is going to be hard to pass up on Rahal this weekend.
Spencer Pigot (Ed Carpenter Racing) $21
There are drivers with better resumes left on the board, surely, but as a sleeper pick there is one guy remaining that certainly fits that billing: Spencer Pigot.
Slowly improving over the last few years with Ed Carpenter Racing, Pigot comes into this weekend with a $21 price tag and a respectable run of races at Road America. In three starts, Pigot has been running at the finish each time while improving on his position from start (13.7) to finish (9.7).
Pigot’s best finish at Road America was eighth in 2018, and with what seems to be improved confidence in 2019, we could easily see the No. 21 ECR Chevrolet fighting for the Fast Six and potentially a top-five finish this weekend.
Tanner’s Picks for the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America
- Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) $33
- Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) $24
- Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing) $22
- Spencer Pigot (Ed Carpenter Racing) $21
I didn’t even mention Rossi during this write up, but I knew I would be picking Rahal, Bourdais and Pigot based on their value alone. After their salaries totaled $77, I went for the highest-paid driver left on the table – which was the NAPA Auto Parts driver.
Interestingly enough, Rossi has the worst average finish at Road America among the four drivers I selected (14.7 in three starts) but it seems that the time is now for the California native to turn that trend around – especially if he wants to keep pace with Newgarden in this championship chase.
Well, those are my picks – now lets see yours! Remember to join our Open-Wheels league and stay tuned to continued coverage of IndyCar as we race into Road America weekend.
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.