INDIANAPOLIS – 2 NTT IndyCar Series practice sessions are now behind us this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. So is qualifying to set the field for Saturday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix (3 p.m. ET/NBC/IndyCar Radio Network). All that’s left is to race the 85 Lap race on Saturday afternoon.
So, who will be the ones to beat?
Trends say it will be one of the top four starters. The pole sitter has won this race in four straight years now. That’s good news for Felix Rosenqvist. The only other driver to win this race not from the pole was Simon Pagenaud in 2014. He started fourth.
Furthermore, three of the last five IndyCar races overall have been won from the pole. More good news for Rosenqvist. Nine of the last 10 series races overall and 10 of the last 11 have been won from a driver coming from the top 2 Rows.
That’s great news for Rosenqvist, Scott Dixon, Jack Harvey and Colton Herta.
But, will one of them win?
Penske has won four of the five races run on the 2.439-mile road course. They’ve been so dominant everyone is calling this it the Penske Grand Prix. But, will they win?
They race for Chevrolet who’s only won three of the last 15 Indy Car races. Honda’s been the dominant manufacturer in the series since last June and dominated practice on Friday.
So, who’s going to win? Try these drivers.
Will Power (+450)
Despite some bad luck on track this season, you can’t leave Power off this list. He’s won this race in three of the last four years in dominating fashion. He led 65 laps in a win in 2015 and 61 and 56 respectively in his wins the last two years. Also, Power has four top five starting spots in this race including three poles and was fastest in this morning’s practice session. He will start sixth.
Scott Dixon (+500)
He’s been the most consistent on Friday. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver was third and fifth respectively in practice and qualified his No. 9 Honda on the front row (2nd). Dixon, also has three podiums in four tries this year and while has hasn’t won a race since last July in Toronto, he does have six top three finishes in his last eight starts overall. He also has 16 top 10 finishes in his last 18 tries with 15 of those being results in the top five. That’s why he’s always tough to beat because even if he doesn’t win, he’s around the top five. In this race, he’s finished in the top 10 the last four years including two straight runner-up finishes to Power.
Felix Rosenqvist (+3300)
The Swedish rookie has three top 10 finishes in four tries in 2019 and has raced on this road course twice before, both coming in Indy Lights in 2016 to where he finished in the top six in both tries. In practice, Rosenqvist was fourth and second respectively. He also qualified on the pole. He’s a sleeper to watch.
Colton Herta (+3300)
He’s never ran an IndyCar at Indy before but he does have past success in Indy Lights here. He swept all three races in 2018, two on the road course and one on the oval for three straight wins. On the season, he was eighth in St. Pete and won in COTA. He’s had bad luck lately but that easily could change. Herta was quickest in practice on Friday and starts fourth.
Takuma Sato (+1400)
He’s already won a race in 2019 and has won two of the last four races on natural road courses. In this race, Sato has three top 10 finishes as well to go along with three straight top 10 finishes on the year. In practice, the Japanese driver was ninth and sixth respectively. He starts 11th.
Graham Rahal (+1600)
If he could qualify better in this race, then watch out. Now, he does as he starts seventh. Rahal had never started better than 12th and here he has four top 10 finishes including a runner-up in 2015. His hard charging mentality has turned the heads of his competitors as they’ve all said that if he started closer to the front, then it’s game over.
Well, Rahal has qualified a lot better in 2019 and even has two fourth place finishes on the year. This could be his weekend.
Sebastien Bourdais (+1600)
The Frenchman has finished fourth in three of his five tries in this race. He’s also started in the top four Rows in all five starts too. On the season, Bourdais has two top five results in four tries as well. He was fourth fastest in practice on Friday and rolls off 10th. This is the definition of a sleeper.
Spencer Pigot (+15000)
While Pigot has failed to score a top 10 finish in 2019 so far, he does have two 11th place results. Both came in the first two races of the year. Last year, Pigot was eighth in both practice sessions at Indy and qualified ninth. Unfortunately, he went airborne on the opening lap and only finished 15th. He did come home ninth in 2017 and 11th as a rookie in 2016. This weekend, he was second and third respectively in practice but rolls off 12th. This is the best value of the entire field.
Ed Jones (+15000)
Jordan King took this to a solid start in last year’s race weekend, but he crashed on the opening lap. Jones, finished 19th and 22nd respectively in two career tries himself. On the year, Jones has finished 21st, 14th, 19th and 16th respectively. Now, he’s found speed and qualified fifth. May be worth the risk.
Josef Newgarden (+400)
Newgarden hasn’t finished worse than fourth yet. In fact, he has three top two finishes in four tries. If you go back to his win in Road America last June, he has 12 consecutive top 10 finishes. That’s a tough driver to beat. But, he never has scored a top 10 finish in this race before. In practice, the current IndyCar points leader was fifth and 14th on the speed charts respectively and qualified 13th. That’s why he’s a tough one to bet this weekend.
Alexander Rossi (+400)
While Andretti Autosport has typically struggled in this race, Rossi has gotten better and better each year. He went from 10th in 2016 to eighth in 2017 to fifth last year. The Andretti driver also has three top five finishes in four tries this season and 11 straight top 10 finishes dating back to last year. That’s why his odds are where they are. But, in practice on Friday, he was only 10th and 12th respectively. He qualified 17th.
Helio Castroneves (+800)
The popular Brazilian hasn’t ran a race yet this season, but he’s just been so good in this race, making him hard to overlook. Castroneves, has never finished worse than sixth in all five tries on the 2.39-mile road course including three top fives and two podiums. But, what makes him questionable is that he was only 23rd and 18th respectively in practice. He starts 15th.
Ryan Hunter-Reay (+1000)
If Hunter-Reay can get any luck, then he will be strong. Going back to last season, Hunter-Reay has five top 10 finishes in seven tries including four of those being in the top five itself. But, bad luck struck him last year in his engine going sour. He limped home to a 18th place finish. The year before though, he put his car on the podium with a third place result. He was also runner-up to Pagenaud in the inaugural race in 2014.
He’s either feast or famine in this race.
In practice, he was in the top 10 on both sessions (6th, 7th) and qualified his No. 28 Honda 16th.
Simon Pagenaud (+1200)
Pagenaud hinted at Long Beach that he may have something good for Indy. The Frenchman made the Fast Six on the streets of Long Beach and used that to score his third top 10 result in four tries this season. In this race, he’s won twice and finished in the top eight in two of the other three tries. In practice though, he was just eighth and 15th respectively. He starts eighth.
James Hinchcliffe (+2500)
If he could have luck go his way in qualifying, then he can inch closer to a win. Hinchcliffe, has three top 10 finishes in four tries in 2019. The only reason he’s not four-for-four is because of a run-in with Felix Rosenqvist late in the race at COTA.
In this race at Indy, Hinchcliffe has started in the top 10 for three straight years with two of which being in Row 2. He finished on the podium in 2016 and was seventh last year. He was only 11th and 17th in practice though.
Tony Kanaan (+6600)
This isn’t a week to take TK. He does have two career top 10 finishes in this race but his best result is seventh in 2015. His last three finishes in this race have been 25th, 20th and 14th respectively. On the season, Kanaan has finished 15th, 12th, 18th and 19th respectively. In practice, the popular Brazilian was just 24th and 23rd respectively.
Marco Andretti (+6600)
I’m not sold on his chances yet. Andretti, has never started or finished in the top 10 in this race before. He does have four top 14 finishes to start 2019 off with, but only one of those was in the top 10 (6th at COTA). He was just 22nd and 20th respectively in practice on Friday.
Zach Veach (+8000)
Nothing against him here, but Veach has had that proverbial sophomore slump in 2019. He’s yet to finish in the top 10 in four tries and was 23rd in this race a year ago.
Matheus Leist (+10000)
This has been a rough season for the entire Foyt camp including Leist. He finished 21st in this race last year and has finishes of 22nd, 17th, 20th and 15th respectively this year. He was only 20th and 22nd respectively in practice.