LONG BEACH, Calif – We’re through all the preliminary action in southern California. It’s time for race day for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (4 p.m. ET/NBCSN/IndyCar Radio Network). With that being said, the oddsmakers have the lines ready for whom they think will contend for the win in the fourth race of the NTT IndyCar Series season.
I’ve broken them down and will give you a list of drivers who may be good ones to take for Sunday’s 85 Lap race.
Things To Note
We’ve had seven straight different race winners in Long Beach. If that trend holds true, then Will Power (2012), Takuma Sato (2013), Scott Dixon (2015), Simon Pagenaud (2016), James Hinchcliffe (2017) and Alexander Rossi (2018) won’t be victorious this weekend.
Also, we’ve had six straight years of different teams winning too. So, AJ Foyt Racing (2013), Ed Carpenter Racing (2014), Chip Ganassi Racing (2015), Team Penske (2016), Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (2017) not Andretti Autosport (2018) will produce a winner either.
Furthermore, we’ve had three different teams win all three races this season, so ex nay Penske (Newgarden – St. Pete), Harding Steinbrenner Racing (Herta – COTA) and RLL (Sato – Barber) from this weekend too.
Josef Newgarden (+450)
I hate to always have to use a favorite, but I mean come on, Newgarden has three top four finishes in all three races this season including a win on another street course race in the season opener at St. Pete. He also has two career podiums in Long Beach including a third place effort in 2017. Plus, he fits one trend for seven straight years of a different driver winning. A Newgarden win would make it eight. This is too good of an option to leave on the table, especially when he was ninth and fourth respectively in practice on Friday and sixth on Saturday. He starts fourth.
Alexander Rossi (+500)
I doubt you want to leave the Andretti Autosport driver off the table. Rossi, won this race last year after leading a race high 71 laps. He’s on top of his game on street courses and says this is a race he needs to capitalize on because of their expected strength. In practice this weekend, the American drier was fifth, sixth and first respectively. He earned the pole too.
Scott Dixon (+550)
Again, another favorite per the odds and too good of one to pass up. Dixon, won this race in 2015 and has finished second, fourth and 11th respectively since. He has two runner-up finishes in three tries in 2019. On Friday, he was second and first respectively and third on Saturday. He qualified second. Need I say more?
Felix Rosenqvist (+1000)
May be the best value among these favorites here. The rookie finished fourth after leading 31 laps in the season opener on the streets of St. Pete. The car he’s driving finished third in this race last year with Ed Jones. If you go back to when Tony Kanaan was driving it, the No. 10 entry for CGR has three top six finishes in the last four years. With the speed in the car and the talent of Rosenqvist, this is a good favorite. He was seventh and third respectively in practice on Friday and eighth on Saturday.
Ryan Hunter-Reay (+1100)
He started off questionable but moves way up. On Friday, he was in the top two in both practice sessions and fourth overall on Saturday. He will start seventh too. That gives me higher confidence because since Hunter-Reay’s win in 2010, he’s struggled on the streets of Long Beach. In his last eight starts at the beach, he has one top 10 finish. That was a sixth place run in 2012. Five of his last six starts have resulted in a sub 17th place finish. He finished third in COTA this year but 23rd (St. Pete) and eighth (Barber) in the other two races. I like his chances despite all of that.
Graham Rahal (+1600)
This follows the trend of a new driver to win this season as well as a new team/driver to win in Long Beach. Rahal, finished fifth in this race last year and 10th the year before. He was runner-up back in 2013 too. With a fast car out of the gates in 2019 and a driver who excels on street courses, look no further than Rahal to score a win. He was fourth and seventh respectively in the two sessions on Friday and second on Saturday. He made the Fast Six and will start sixth on Sunday.
Simon Pagenaud (+1100)
The Frenchman hasn’t had the best of luck as of late. While 16 top 10 finishes over his last 20 starts, dating back to the start of the 2018 season, out of those 16 are only four top five finishes. Yes, he has two top 10’s in three starts out of the gates in 2019, but neither were in the top five – hence these kind of odds.
Pagenaud has typically been strong at Long Beach. He was unfortunately punted from his Row 2 starting spot on the opening lap last year. Prior to that though, the Team Penske driver had six straight top eight finishes in Long Beach including a win in 2016. These are good odds to reach for. He was eighth in both practice sessions on Friday and fifth on Saturday. He also qualified fifth too.
James Hinchcliffe (+1400)
Hinchcliffe, has two sixth place finishes in three races this season. If not for contact with Felix Rosenqvist in COTA, he was destined to be 3-for-3 in terms of top 10’s in 2019. Hinchcliffe, is a past winner in Long Beach (2017) to go along with scoring three consecutive top 10 finishes on the race track. These are good odds to grab. He was sixth and ninth respectively in practice on Friday and 12th on Saturday.
Colton Herta (+2500)
He follows the trend of not only a new race winners at Long Beach but a new race team too. Herta, was strong on a street course in St. Pete last month and has been quick this weekend. He was third, 13th and seventh respectively in practice.
Ed Jones (+8000)
He’s had a fast car in practice, just not luck in qualifying. But, Jones has been so strong on street courses in the past, including at Long Beach overall. In two career Long Beach starts, Jones has finished sixth (2017) and third (2018) respectively. Mike Conway won in this very same situation as a part time road/street course driver for this very same team in 2014. For +8000, go Jones’ way this weekend.
Pato O’Ward (+10000)
It’s Honda vs. Penske and O’Ward right now. He’s the top Chevy driver not in Team Penske. O’Ward was fifth quickest overall on Friday and ninth on Saturday. With these odds, why not?
Tony Kanaan (+30000)
Yes, Kanaan hasn’t won since the 2014 season finale in Fontana. Yes, AJ Foyt Racing hasn’t won a race since Long Beach in 2013. But, that just says that they’re due. The stars could align this weekend. Kanaan, has three top eight finishes in his last four Long Beach starts including an eighth place run in his No. 14 Chevrolet last year. In his last 10 overall Long Beach starts, Kanaan has brought his car home in the top 10 in seven of them. No, he’s never won on the 1.968-mile street course, but he fits the trend well for an eighth straight winner. For these odds, throw a buck or two his way, especially since he was 13th and 12th respectively in practice this weekend.