By: Spencer Neff
May 23, 2019 | 9:51 AM
Race Day for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is almost here. Ahead of the race, there is ample time to submit your picks for the IndyCar Fantasy Challenge.
If you aren’t already part of a fantasy group, check out the Open-Wheels.com league by clicking this link.
Last time out at the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, my team (16th Street Bullies) had just two top-10 finishers: runner-up Scott Dixon and seventh-place Will Power.
For each race, there are only four slots you can fill in the official IndyCar Fantasy Challenge presented by Fantrax. Additionally, a $100 “salary cap” is put in place for each entry.
In this preview, we have sorted a handful of drivers into either the “Favorites” (drivers who are expected to be among the top contenders during the race) or “Sleepers” (drivers who could provide a solid result and have a solid Fantrax value) categories. Included with each driver listed is their Fantrax salary.
Now, here is the breakdown for this weekend’s field.
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske | $28
At May 11th’s INDYCAR Grand Prix, Pagenaud snapped a 21-race winless streak by taking victory on the IMS road course. Eight days later, he beat out Ed Carpenter to win his first pole since Toronto in 2017. It was Pagenaud’s first Indianapolis 500 pole and the 18th for Team Penske.
In eight appearances at the Indianapolis 500 (including 2019), Pagenaud has three front row starts – 2015, 2018 and 2019. Unfortunately for the 2016 series champion, qualifying success has yet to translate to Race Day.
Last year, he earned his best career finish of sixth and led for just the second time. Now, Pagenaud is in a great position to equal teammate Will Power’s 2018 month of May sweep.
Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing | $24
After posting the fastest four-lap average on Saturday, Spencer Pigot appeared to be the favorite to start on pole. In Sunday’s Fast 9 Shootout, he would qualify third – the first front row start of his career.
Like his ECR teammates Ed Jones and Ed Carpenter, Pigot has been quick throughout the week of practice. If he can pull it all together, Pigot will be among the contenders.
Other Favorites for the IndyCar Grand Prix (with Fantrax Prices)
Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport | $33
Will Power, Team Penske | $29
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing | $24
Colton Herta, Harding Steinbrenner Racing | $19
After a historic win at Circuit of the Americas, the results have been frustrating for the second-generation rookie. Despite starting in the top-10 in the following three races, his average finish is a disappointing 23.3.
In his first NTT IndyCar Series oval appearance and first Indianapolis 500, Herta will start fifth as the fastest rookie and Honda-powered entry.
With a young team that has proven it is able to contend with IndyCar’s experienced groups, Herta may be able to break his string of bad luck.
James Davison, Dale Coyne Racing with Byrd/Hollinger/Belardi | $20
After narrowly making the field on Bump Day in 2018, James Davison qualified 19th for the 102nd Indianapolis 500. Early on in the race, mechanical issues hampered his A.J. Foyt Racing with Byrd-Hollinger-Belardi entry. On Lap 45, Davison’s day ended due to a crash with Takuma Sato.
This year, Byrd and Belardi’s effort aligned with Dale Coyne Racing, who fielded Davison’s Indianapolis 500 effort in 2015 and 2017. On Saturday, the veteran locked himself into the field easily by qualifying 15th.
Despite fuel cell leaks during Monday practice, Davison was ninth on the charts. If Davison and the No. 33 team can hold things together on Race Day, a solid finish is well within reach.
Other Sleepers for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge (with Fantrax Prices)
Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing with Scuderia Corsa | $24
Conor Daly, Andretti Autosport | $23
Jack Harvey, Michael Shank Racing | $20
- Simon Pagenaud($29)
- Alexander Rossi ($33)
- JR Hildebrand ($20)
- Colton Herta ($18)
Good Luck to everyone and enjoy the weekend.
Header image by Dana Garrett/INDYCAR
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.