By: Spencer Neff
April 4, 2019 | 2:12 PM
In less than 24 hours, the NTT IndyCar Series will open practice for Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. With that in mind, you still have plenty of time to submit fantasy picks in 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.
During the March 24 IndyCar Classic at Circuit of The Americas, my team (16th Street Bullies) was looking solid. However, the late caution turned the race upside-down for my drivers as it did some of the frontrunners like Alexander Rossi or Will Power. Currently, my team is fifth – yet there is still much to be desired.
Since there are only four slots you can fill in the official IndyCar Fantasy Challenge presented by Fantrax, there will be four drivers inside the $100 dollar limit showcased this week. Here are my picks for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
The reasons to have the 2017 IndyCar Series Champion on your roster are numerous, despite the hefty $34 price tag: Points leader, top-2 finishes in both 2019 races, and the all-time wins leader at Barber Motorsports Park (3).
Headed into this weekend, Newgarden holds a streak of four straight podium finishes at the 2.3-mile road course, and since joining Team Penske in 2017, he is undefeated in two appearances at Barber.
With Newgarden riding a hot streak into the weekend, look for him to continue his success at the Alabama track.
Like Newgarden, Hunter-Reay heads into this weekend carrying some momentum. After a frustrating opener at St. Petersburg left him with a 23rd-place finish due to a blown engine, he rebounded at Circuit of the Americas.
Two weeks ago, the 2012 series champion finished third in Austin, and at Barber, Hunter-Reay has had legitimate success. In nine prior starts, he has won twice (2013 and 2014) and earned pole in 2013. Last year, he finished second to Newgarden for his first podium at the track since the two wins.
The Andretti Autosport driver will be one of the major contenders throughout the weekend. Like Newgarden, picking Hunter-Reay is rather costly ($28), but he is worth the investment considering his performance at the track.
One of the early-season surprises in the NTT IndyCar Series has been the performance of Jack Harvey and the Meyer Shank Racing team. In the offseason, the team announced an expansion of their scheduled races from six in 2018 to 10 races in 2019.
At St. Petersburg, Harvey qualified a career-best seventh and ended the 110-lap race with his first top-10 finish in 10th.
Two weeks later, the IndyCar Classic got off to a rough start when Harvey was penalized his two quickest laps in qualifying (from causing a red flag) and had to start 23rd.
Showing great resolve, he and the team notched their second consecutive 10th-place finish.
Although this will be Harvey’s first IndyCar race at Barber, he has run the track in Indy Lights. During his 2015 campaign, Harvey started and finished second in both races at the track. Sporting a $20 price tag, it is worth the low risk to see if he will continue his strong start to 2019.
Picking up where he left off in his debut at Sonoma in 2018, Pato O’Ward continues to dazzle. In the first of his 13 scheduled races with Carlin this season, O’Ward narrowly missed out on the Fast Six and qualified eighth at Circuit of the Americas.
During the 60-lap race in Austin, O’Ward showed little signs of rust despite being out of the seat for over six months. He earned a career-best finish of sixth. This weekend, O’Ward will return to the driver’s seat. Like Harvey, this will be O’Ward’s first IndyCar start at Barber.
In four Indy Lights starts at the track, O’Ward has started in the Top Six each time. Last year, he swept both races on his way to the series title. Three years ago, O’Ward also swept the weekend at Barber in Pro Mazda.
Although it may be a bit premature to expect O’Ward to be on the top step of the podium, there is great optimism and expectations for him during 2019. At a low price of $18, the 2018 Indy Lights champion is worth adding for this weekend’s race.
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.
Spencer’s fantasy picks for the
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park
- Josef Newgarden ($34, Team Penske)
- Ryan Hunter-Reay ($28, Andretti Autosport)
- Jack Harvey ($20, Meyer Shank Racing)
- Patricio O’Ward ($18, Carlin Racing)
Header image by Chris Jones/INDYCAR.