By: Spencer Neff
April 11, 2019 | 1:33 PM
By this time tomorrow, cars will be on track for practice at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Ahead of this weekend’s action, there is still 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. Join and compete against your fellow IndyCar fans in a laid-back, fun competition.
Before last week’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, I made some changes ahead of Sunday’s race. Although the changes left a mixed back of results, my team (16th Street Bullies) sits fourth in the standings.
There are only four slots you can fill in the official IndyCar Fantasy Challenge presented by Fantrax. For this week’s Fantasy Preview, we will be trying a new format.
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”).
Now, here is the breakdown for this weekend’s field.
Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) $29
Following a runner-up finish in the 2018 championship, Rossi has yet to score a podium finish in the first three races of the season. This weekend, a return to his home state of California provides reason for optimism.
Last year, Rossi entered the race with three straight podium finishes but had yet to record a victory. By the end of the weekend, Rossi led all but one on-track session and led 71 of 85 laps en route to his first of three wins in 2018.
Considering Rossi dominated in the first race at the track with the UAK18, he should again be among the favorites.
Will Power (Team Penske) $30
Like Rossi, Power has not gotten off to an ideal start to 2019. Despite winning pole for the first two races of the season, Power has just one Top 10 finish so far (third at St. Petersburg).
Power has won twice at the famed street course (2007 and 2012) and has started from the pole here three times (2009-2011).
With Power’s stellar record on temporary street circuits, he is always a factor. If he can reverse fortune from his early season struggles, an improvement from last year’s runner-up finish may be in the cards.
Other Favorites for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (with Fantrax Prices):
Josef Newgarden (Team Penske)-$34
Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing)-$32
Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport)-$28
Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan) $21
Zach Veach (Andretti Autosport) $24
Last week, Veach rebounded from a disappointing start to his second full-time season by climbing from 23rd for a season-best 12th-place finish.
Now, he returns to the site of his first IndyCar Top Five finish (a fourth-place last year, his best result to date). Following the race at Barber, Veach is a solid pick for this weekend considering last year’s performance. The Andretti Autosport driver will be a nice value pick for those needing one.
Ed Jones (Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa) $21
The switch to road and street course driver of the ECR No. 20 entry has not yet yielded ideal results for Jones. In his first three races, he has not advanced past Round 1 in qualifying and has just one lead-lap finish (14th at Circuit of The Americas).
The Grand Prix of Long Beach has been a strong track for Jones in his career. In just two starts at the venue, Jones has recorded finishes of sixth and third the last two seasons (the latter in 2018 tying his career-best finish).
Additionally, the 2017 Rookie of the Year won the last Indy Lights race to date at the track in 2015. If Jones can improve in qualifying (started 13th in 2017 and 2018), a trip to Southern California could be the cure to reverse his 2019 fortune.
Other Sleepers for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (with Fantrax Prices):
Marco Andretti (Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian)-$25
Marcus Ericsson (Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)-$21
Spencer Pigot (Ed Carpenter Racing)-$21
Those are my picks for the race. Remember to join the Open-Wheels league by clicking here. Good Luck to everyone and enjoy the weekend.
Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR