By: Spencer Neff
May 9, 2019 | 12:32 PM
Tomorrow, on-track action for the month of May begins. The 24-car NTT IndyCar Series field will begin practice for Saturday’s IndyCar Grand Prix. Ahead of this weekend’s race at IMS, 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 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, my team (16th Street Bullies) did have Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi (1st) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (5th) on the roster, but we did not have any others in the top-10.
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). Included with each driver listed is their Fantrax salary.
Now, here is the breakdown for this weekend’s field.
Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi) $30
Despite being tied with points leader Josef Newgarden for the most podium finishes in 2019 (three), Dixon has yet to visit victory lane. Additionally, he is the only driver to advance to the Fast Six in each race despite not earning a pole position.
In the five previous runnings of the IndyCar Grand Prix, Dixon has four top-10 starts and finishes apiece. However, the 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner has yet to win on the road course.
During the 2018 race, he completed a strong run through the field from 18th to second – equaling his 2017 best finish in the event. If Dixon and his team can keep their pace from the first four races of the season, the 2018 series champion could score his first win of 2019 on Saturday.
Will Power (Team Penske) $29
Last year, Power dominated the first IndyCar Grand Prix of the Universal Aero Kit (UAK-18) era. In the 85-lap race, he led 56 laps after starting on pole en route to his third win since 2015 at the IMS road course.
With the win, Power also broke a tie with Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud (2014 and 2016 winner) for most wins in the event.
Additionally, Power secured the pole for the first two races of the 2019 season – at St. Petersburg and Circuit of the Americas. Despite his stellar qualifying record, he has just one podium finish so far this season – a third-place result at St. Petersburg.
A trip back to IMS – where Power won the Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 in 2018 – could be the cure for the 2014 IndyCar champion to return to form.
Other Favorites for the IndyCar Grand Prix (with Fantrax Prices):
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske – $26
James Hinchcliffe, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports – $24
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – $23
Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) $27
Ahead of this weekend’s race, Sato boasts two ninth-place finishes at the IndyCar Grand Prix – both coming in 2014 and 2015 for A.J. Foyt Racing. However, Sato has yet to qualify inside the top-10 for any of his previous five IndyCar Grand Prix starts.
During his first IndyCar Grand Prix with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 2018, Sato started a career-best 11th and finished 10th. If Sato can earn a solid starting spot in qualifying, expect the 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner to be among the contenders on race day.
Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) $15
As he did in 2018, Castroneves returns to IMS in May from his full-time role with Acura Team Penske in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Last year, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner started 10th and found his way up to sixth. While leading in three of the first five GPs (for a total of 46 laps) he has recorded a top-six finish in each race and qualified in the top-10 for all but one event.
With Castroneves still as motivated as ever, he could be one of the frontrunners this weekend despite a year-long break from IndyCar race action.
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
Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Racing -$19
Colton Herta, Harding Steinbrenner Racing -$19
- Will Power ($29)
- Scott Dixon ($30)
- James Hinchcliffe ($24)
- Helio Castroneves ($15)
Good Luck to everyone and enjoy the weekend.
Header Image By Shawn Gritzmacher/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.