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Locks, drops & sleepers for Sonoma

by
Zach, Kyle, Chris & Kristin
| Aug 23, 2011

Lock: Sébastien Bourdais
Let’s face it: unless you’ve been very conservative or unnaturally smart, your use of Will Power, Dario Franchitti, and Scott Dixon has been pretty pronounced. That’s why you should look to Bourdais this weekend. He probably hasn’t been overused yet on most fantasy teams, yet his potential at this point in the season is very good. He’s finished P6, P6, and P9 in the past three races he’s contested, and should be in line for another good finish here. This team is simply night and day from where they were earlier in the season.

Drop: Danica Patrick
Danica has finished P16 or worse here three times dating back to 2005. She always finds a way to finish a race, but this is not her sort of track. Save her start for Kentucky or Las Vegas; there are simply better options at play here, unless you just want the certainty of a driver finishing the race.

Sleeper: Mike Conway
Conway’s been a pretty dicey proposition for fantasy owners this year, but in his only start at Sonoma back in ’09, he qualified P9 and finished on the podium. Sooner or later, he’s going to have a race like he did at Long Beach, and Sonoma seems a reasonable place for it to happen.

---Zachary Houghton’s picks

Lock: Ryan Hunter-Reay
With his early season struggles behind him, Hunter-Reay has caught fire over the summer, reeling off finishes of eighth, third, seventh, third, and first in the last five races. He's got his "mojo" back back, and we all know the road courses are his specialty. Expect a good performance from him this weekend.

Drop: Gorgio Pantano
After several years in relative obscurity, Pantano returns to the big-time racing scene this weekend as a fill-in for Justin Wilson. But, don't pin your hopes on him. He hasn't been in an IndyCar since 2005 and the fluctuation of drivers going in and out of Wilson's seat could strain the team itself (they've gone from Wilson to Pagenaud and now to Pantano). This has the recipe for a long weekend for Dreyer and Reinbold.

Sleeper: Charlie Kimball
Kimball has had a tough go of it in his first season. But, after Mid-Ohio and Loudon, it appears he may be turning a corner. He held a top five at Mid-Ohio before spinning off after a mistake in the dying laps, and secured his second top ten of the season two weeks ago in Loudon. Momentum is building, confidence is building. If he can keep it up, people will start remembering this Ganassi team is actually two cars, not just one for Graham Rahal.

---Kyle Lavigne’s picks

LOCK: Will Power
The motivation factor will be through the roof for the Australian, who has now graduated to Internet meme status following his antics at Loudon. Now that he's hacked into Dario Franchitti's points lead a bit, it's critical for Power to defend his Sonoma title -- or at least make sure he's ahead of the Scotsman at the checkers. I think he'll get the job done.

DROP: Giorgio Pantano
Remember this guy? If not, you're forgiven -- we haven't seen Pantano in an IndyCar since his brief '05 run with Target Chip Ganassi Racing that saw him serve as a road course replacement for Darren Manning (Jacques Lazier was the oval replacement). He may have a solid RC background, but the goal for him and Dreyer and Reinbold Racing may just be simply surviving the weekend.

SLEEPER: Marco Andretti
Marco's had some solid efforts on the road/streets this year, with a fourth at Barber, another fourth at Toronto and a seventh at our last natural-terrain RC race in Mid-Ohio. With a good qualifying effort, he could be in contention for a nice run at the track where he took his inaugural IndyCar victory.

---Chris Estrada’s picks

Lock: Will Power
You guys, c'mon, how could you not give this one to Will after last week's "performance"? He was definitely fired up and like any respectable driver, he will be channeling that energy right into victory lane.

Drop: Takuma Sato
Nothing puts the brakes on a driver like being chastised by the great Dario Franchitti. Anymore stunts like the one Sato (accidentally) pulled last week and Sato will not be so welcomed on the track. I have a feeling he'll be on his best behavior at Infineon so as not to step on anymore toes (pun intended).

Sleeper: Oriol Servia
If anyone has a score to settle, it's Servia. He was "Paul Tracy-ed", if you will, last week and nothing lights a fire under a driver like being self-proclaimed cheated out of a win. This week he'll definitely be out to prove he has what it's takes to be the official winner.

----Kristin Slevin’s picks

 

10 Comments

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  5. 5 Alex M 28 Aug
    My lock coming into the weekend was easily Mike Conway.  Infinion has been the best track for Conway.  He got his big break in indycar when he was invited to a test session at the track and was bad fast, which got him signed to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for his rookie year, where he scored his first career podium finish of 3rd.  He wasn't here last year because of the indy 500 crash he suffered, but now he returns for his second race at the track and this time he comes loaded with some good equiptment in that Andretti Autosport car.  He has already suprised on road / street courses this year, from his recovery at Long Beach after a pit road problem sent him deep in the field to come back for his first win, to win he broke the track record during practice at Toronto on the black tires, instead of the quicker reds.  So that means good stuff shoulf be flowing his way at Infinion.
  6. 6 Alex M 28 Aug
    My lock coming into the weekend was easily Mike Conway.  Infinion has been the best track for Conway.  He got his big break in indycar when he was invited to a test session at the track and was bad fast, which got him signed to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for his rookie year, where he scored his first career podium finish of 3rd.  He wasn't here last year because of the indy 500 crash he suffered, but now he returns for his second race at the track and this time he comes loaded with some good equiptment in that Andretti Autosport car.  He has already suprised on road / street courses this year, from his recovery at Long Beach after a pit road problem sent him deep in the field to come back for his first win, to win he broke the track record during practice at Toronto on the black tires, instead of the quicker reds.  So that means good stuff shoulf be flowing his way at Infinion.
  7. 7 Zachary 25 Aug

    @kk: Man, I really thought about Hinch for my sleeper. I still wouldn't be surprised if he nabs a podium or two in the races we have left. It's going to be a great Rookie of the Year fight!

    @Julie: Taku is frustrating because in any race, he has the potential to finish in front, but either an incident or bad luck happen. He's fast, but you still gotta finish!

    @CJ: TK's historicals actually are really good at this track, but yes, we'll have to see if the engineer shakeup has any effect. Apparently, it was simply a chemistry thing. It's crazy just how far sub-par chemistry was able to go!

  8. 8 k.k. 24 Aug
    No mention of James Hinchcliff which is odd considering some of his best finishes this season have been on road courses. Just sayin!
  9. 9 Julie 24 Aug

    LOCK: Scott Dixon

    He is only 26 pts behind Will Power in the championship standings and would love to at least take 2nd at the end of the season. In order to do that...he needs to win this race. He will also be motivated after the decision regarding the NH finish.

    DROP: Takuma Sato

    He always seems to have problems in every race and I don't think this one will be any different.

    SLEEPER: Dario Franchitti

    I know it is odd to put him as a Sleeper but he usually seems content to finsh somewhere in the top 5 (not necessarily win) at road/street courses. But I think he will want to win and pull back some of those points he lost to Will P due to the crash and re-write of the results in NH. He would love this championship to be decided before Las Vegas.  

  10. 10 C.J. Caudle 24 Aug

    LOCK:  Ryan Briscoe

    With a host of bad luck this season, but strong qualifying efforts at Mid-Ohio I look for Sonoma to be Briscoe's weekend.

     DROP: Tony Kanaan

    TK's break-up with his engineer points to turmoil for the surprise team of the season.

     SLEEPER: J.R. Hildebrand

    Infineon is Hildebrand's home track, and as a graduate of the Russell school he's had plenty of exposure to Sonoma's ins & outs.  Although uncompetitive last year J.R.'s team is ready for a fight this year!

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