Since finishing P8 in this year’s Indy 500, reigning Verizon IndyCar® Series champion Josef Newgarden has finished P9, P15 and P13 in the last three races (Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Duals 1 and 2, and the DXC Technology 600). But I think the winds of change are blowing in his direction. So much so, he’s my lock for the KOHLER Grand Prix. Newgarden swept both practices Friday, then dropped to P13 in the final practice Saturday before flying into the Firestone Fast 6 and ending his day on pole. Last time Newgarden captured the pole at a road course this season (Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama), he led 73 laps on his way to a dominant win. After finishing second last year, look for Newgarden to make the most of the pole position and pick up his first career win at Road America.
It hurts me to say this, but I’m dropping one of my oldest friends this week, Tony Kanaan. My man TK has been racing on Firestone tires for 21 seasons and his kids are some of my biggest fans, but he’s had a rough go of it at Road America so far this week. TK was P6 in Practice 1, but has fallen further down the grid in each session. He was P11 in Practice 2, P17 in Practice 3 and will start in the bottom five tomorrow after qualifying 18th. With a $17 price tag this week, my suggestion would be to skip on Tony and take Zach Veach (qualified 11th) for a dollar less.
Sooner or later, this pick is going to pay off for me… Jordan King is my sleeper. He has yet to put it all together in a race this season, but the rookie shows all sorts of promise and walks around the paddock with an air of confidence that suggests he knows good things are coming. King qualified 13th and will have teammate Spencer Pigot (starting 10th) nearby to work with during the race. I think this could be the week we see Jordan King breakthrough and show what he’s all about.
With those three picks in mind, I’m using Josef Newgarden ($29), Alexander Rossi ($32), Will Power ($27) and Jordan King ($12) to fill out my fantasy roster. That leaves me a dollar to spare, but I’ll take my picks to the bank.
Fast Cars Fast Girls
Will Power. He’s having an amazing season, he’s a versatile driver, and he’s starting P2. My money says he doesn’t stay P2 for very long.
It breaks my heart to say it, because I love him, but for $26 — I just don’t think James Hinchcliffe is worth the money this week. He’s starting 16th, and I think he’ll make some moves, but not enough to justify spending $26.
Simon Pagenaud didn’t qualify that great, but he’s a hell of a driver and I expect he’ll be in the top 10 within 10 laps. At $21, he’s a reasonably priced driver who delivers solid results.
Robert Wickens. This is actually the track he’s got some familiarity with, having the potential of racing the race back in 2017 during Mikhael Aleshin’s visa issues post-Le Mans. Wickens has had the distinction of being the stand-out Rookie this year, though it’s a very strong Rookie Class, and as great as he has been on Oval courses, he has just a bit more stronger on Road Courses. Given that, given his somewhat familiarity with this race, Wickens is going to do very well this race, and he’s had an amazing weekend and did great on qualifying.
Tony Kanaan. Tony seemed to just throw the car around in practice sessions. Which - had he qualified better would make me feel better about his hard charging. However he did not qualifying well and if he attempts the same thing he’s been doing during practice he’s not going to finish the race. He’s just having some issues this year, and I’d make a bet on Spencer Pigot with that money.
Max Chilton. When I was rewatching the past two races – every time they discussed Chilton they discussed how much he liked this course. Carlin hasn’t had a super strong track record, but they’re not crashing and coming in last either. Per his Instagram story (seriously it’s not stalking if they put it on the internet). He has a good showing in qualifying, he seemed confident in his post race interview. I think he will have a strong race and will get you a good return on you fantasy money.
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