Can you believe it’s the last week of the season? I can’t. But you know what they say – time flies when you’re having fun. And this year has been a whole lot of fun. As usual, the championship has come down to the final race of the season at Sonoma, and I’m betting it’s going to be a good one. Before I fly south for the winter, here’s my final lock, drop and sleeper picks.
LOCK: Scott Dixon - $35
This may be the easiest LOCK pick of the year for me. Scott Dixon has four Indy car championships and is one drive away from No. 5. He was the fastest driver in Practice 3 and has a 29-point advantage over Alexander Rossi in the championship standings. The guy’s nickname is the “Ice Man” for a reason – he’s as cool as they come. Dixon is one of the greatest all time. I think he’ll prove that again at Sonoma this weekend on his way to his fifth title.
DROP: Max Chilton - $13
Max Chilton has struggled to find speed all weekend. He was P20 in Practice 3, and that was his best result of all three sessions. Given Carlin’s luck this year, I don’t think he will turn it around on race day. With six other drivers available at $13, I’m looking elsewhere for my final pick.
SLEEPER: Patricio O’Ward - $13
What do you have to lose making O’Ward your sleeper pick? He hasn’t been super consistent this weekend, but he was third-fastest in Practice 2, then made the Firestone Fast 6 in his first-ever qualifying session. This kid locked up the Indy Lights championship with nine (NINE!!!) wins, nine poles and 14 podium finishes. Remember when Robert Wickens almost shocked the world in St. Pete, nearly winning his first career Verizon IndyCar® Series race? I think we could see some similar magic from O’Ward on race day.
My final lineup of the year is Dixon ($35), Josef Newgarden ($32), Zach Veach ($20) and O’Ward ($13).
I sure have had fun picking with all my friends over at INDYCAR Nation this year, and I sure appreciate the fans for letting this bird spread his word. Thank you to all INDYCAR fans. You are the best fans in the world and I can’t wait to see you again next year!
Fast Cars Fast Girls
LOCK: Will Power - $33
I know I sound like a broken record, but barring any electrical gremlins, I can’t imagine he won’t at least podium. He’s $33 but well worth the money!
DROP: Josef Newgarden - $33
He does well, but it hasn’t been his best season...and for $32, I’d rather put my money on a different driver.
SLEEPER: Jack Harvey - $13
He’s consistent, doesn’t get involved in many accidents, and is a solid driver. And for $13, he’s a steal in my opinion!! (Although I’d pay $15 just to look at those blue eyes haha!)
I’m rounding out my team with the 2016 and 2017 winner — Simon Pagenaud — for $28, and Sebastien Bourdais for $24, leaving me with $2 to spare this week!! It’s gonna be a great end to the season!
LOCK: Alexander Rossi - $34
Alexander Rossi is driving with the championship on the line, because it is. He's been consistent throughout the year, aside from weird mechanical issues or being on the wrong end of a yellow flag, and this race will be no different. This season he's had eight podium finishes (with three of those being first place finishes); two top fives; and three top ten finishes. Looking specifically at the road/street courses for this year it has been four podiums (two first places finishes); one top five; and two top tens. I expect a podium finish and am hoping for a first place. He's the second most expensive driver, by one dollar, but you'll get a podium finish by locking in Rossi.
DROP: Graham Rahal - $24
It has not been a bad season for Graham Rahal, but it has also not been a fantastic season that warrants a $24 price tag. He had one podium, two top fives, and nine top tens this year. Specifically looking at his finishes in road/street courses it's one podium, two top fives, and four top tens. For the $24 price tag you can swap him out for Sebastian Bourdais who is always good on road courses. I have to choose Rahal as the drop this week, mainly because I find the price too high for his results.
SLEEPER: Ed Jones - $19
Ed Jones has had an up and down season this year. However he started strong and he has started to show some promise of returning to beginning of the season Ed Jones (Portland's crash was unfortunate, but he did qualify 8th at that race). For his second year in INDYCAR he's nabbed two podiums and five top tens; with road/street courses he's had two podium finishes and three top tens. If there's not incident like in Portland, look for Ed Jones to bring the car home and in a good position. He's $19 and he will be a good return on investment if you pick him.
Lineup for Sonoma: Alexander Rossi ($34); Ed Jones ($19); Marco Andretti ($21); and James Hinchcliffe ($24)
Make your picks now at Fantasy.INDYCAR.com!