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BEFORE EACH WEEK RACE WEEKEND, INDYCAR NATION WRITERS WILL SHARE THEIR BRILLIANT ADVICE ON WHO TO PICK AND WHO TO DITCH...
LOCK: TONY KANAAN
Bet you thought I'd say Will Power, right? Wrong. Guess who's the only other current IndyCar driver besides Power to have Top 5 finishes in the last two events here at Long Beach? If you said TK, you're 100% correct. TK's absolutely on fire this year, and the scary thing he still doesn't have his car completely dialed in. Barring carnage, he'll charge hard and grab a good finish for you.
DROP: JR HILDEBRAND
Two mid-pack finishes might have you seeing Hildebrand as a decent team-stretcher or substitute this week. But he's been in a couple of rough spots, and the safe bet is to shy away from Panther until we get to a less twisty portion of the schedule. I'd be happy to be proven wrong, though.
SLEEPER: JUSTIN WILSON
It seems silly to call Wilson a sleeper given his history of the road and street courses, but last week's DNF and his injured wrist have him somewhat off the radar. He finished 2nd here last year, and has plenty of experience here from before the open wheel merger. Wrist, wreck, and all, he can do it.
ZACH HOUGHTON- IndyCarAdvocate.com Blogger/suburb dweller/underdog supporter/@indycaradvocate
Okay, time for me to get my picks on track on here. It's a tough go the first two races. I think I'll go a little more conservative for Long Beach.
LOCK: Will Power
Even though I've already picked for a lock this season, I must go back to him after my struggles over the first races. Plus, last year, Power missed out on a Long Beach victory when a mysterious mechanical gremlin kept him on low gear out of the final hairpin. That allowed Ryan Hunter-Reay and Justin Wilson though and Power settled for third. If not for that, though, Power may have well on it. Look for him to continue that form next weekend.
DROP: E.J. Viso
Viso is continuing the form that helped give KV Racing Technology about 40 total crashes in 2010. The Venezuelan driver has already accrued five crashes on his own so far: two during races, three during practice and qualifying. It has been ugly start for Viso, and and indications are it may continue. As fast as he is at times, Viso has always had problems avoiding trouble.
SLEEPER: Marco Andretti
Rebounding from his St. Pete flip, Andretti finished fourth at Barber. And, his St. Pete weekend was shaping up well until the first corner. The reunited combination of he and Eddie Jones, with Michael Andretti the race strategist, seems to successful in the early going. Andretti is currently the highest placed of the Andretti Autosport drivers. Don't be surprised if Andretti continues that run in Long Beach.
KYLE LAVIGNE- East Coast Contributor/Motorsports Guru/Writer Extraordinaire
Hey guys! Wish I could have seen the race in Barber, but yours truly had a baseball game to attend to. Guess I'll catch the highlights package on YouTube. Anyways…here are my picks for Long Beach...
LOCK: Ryan Hunter-Reay
I'm sticking with the American at Long Beach. RHR's victory last season was an emotional one for him and this track just seems to fit him like a glove. I think he can put up a spirited defense of his title -- even if Will Power doesn't make a mistake this time.
DROP: Sebastien Bourdais
I never thought I'd tell people to drop a three-time Long Beach winner (2005-2007) in their fantasy teams, but here we are. No doubt Bourdais knows this course well, but he's in very different circumstances than he was in his Champ Car glory days.
SLEEPER: Justin Wilson
It'll be important for him to come off the truck fast, but Wilson can certainly get the job done on a street course. I expect him to be in the hunt, and what a way it would be to break DRR's win drought should Wilson get the checkered flag at one of racing's most venerable tracks.
CHRIS ESTRADA- FoxSports.com Guy/IndyRacingRevolution.com Blogger/employee of baseball/@estradawrites
Well, Helio let me down this week. But I'm bouncing back at Long Beach! Here are my picks :)
LOCK: Scott Dixon
Alright, we’re two races in and I haven’t picked my man Dixie yet, it’s time. He couldn’t find the speed to catch Power at Barber and the side by side restarts got the best of him at St. Pete but third time’s a charm! I think he’s got the kinks figured out and is ready to go flat out at Long Beach. Plus his win there will be a great sign of things to come in the Month of May ;)
DROP: EJ Viso
Everyone knows that Viso has been known to be more of a nuisance than a competitor on the track. The side by side racing is not working in his favor. He’s too hot headed and impulsive to be able to control himself and his car on the Streets of Long Beach.
SLEEPER: Oriol Servia
Have you seen his finishes in the first two races? Ninth and fifth. He’s been doing some impressive driving and hanging with the best in the Top 10. Newman/Haas Racing may have struck gold with Servia this year. I’m not sure I see him in Victory Lane but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him on the podium at least once this season.
KRISTIN SLEVIN- BSU Student/USAC Insider/INDYCAR Nation Juggernaut of Joy/@kristinmarie935