By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel
The 2019 INDYCAR season concludes this weekend with the NTT IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey and the Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, California. The Open Wheel will be covering the action on site all weekend so stay tuned to this site and our Twitter page @openwh33l for all of the latest news.
Photo by Riley Bridges/The Open Wheel
Indy Lights Preview: Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products (Entry List), Race 1 – Saturday, September 21, 2019 6:00PM (ET) & Race 2 – Sunday, September 22, 2019 12:05PM (ET) – The Indy Lights championship has been provisionally won by Andretti Autosport rookie Oliver Askew as all Askew needs to do is start the final two races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to clinch the title. It’s been an unbelievable season for Askew and he will be a deserving champion. It should be a fun weekend with plenty of drivers a threat to win but I expect Askew and Rinus VeeKay to continue to rise above the field as they have all year. My picks to win: Oliver Askew (Series Champion) – Oliver Askew & Rinus VeeKay (Races)
NTT IndyCar Series Preview: Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey – Sunday, September 22, 2019 2:30PM (ET) NBC – Previous driver experience at Laguna Seca shows just the four current drivers in the field have raced at the circuit in the NTT IndyCar Series in Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Tony Kanaan. Bourdais has a pole but none of those four have won an NTT IndyCar Series race at Laguna Seca. Obviously, there isn’t much recent NTT IndyCar Series history to base predictions off of, but Colton Herta was fastest in testing on Thursday and most seem to believe Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course should be the closest comparison to what we may see this weekend. 2019 race and qualifying results from Mid-Ohio show some big items to watch. Will Power, Alexander Rossi, Josef Newgarden, and Simon Pagenaud took the first four spots in qualifying which would be incredible to see this weekend with all of the potential championship implications. Of course Dixon went on to win the race, but rookie Felix Rosenqvist appeared to be the fastest car on track so he could be one to watch. My pick to win: Josef Newgarden (Series Champion) & Alexander Rossi (Race) – My gut feeling is either Alexander Rossi or Simon Pagenaud will take the race win but it won’t be enough as Josef Newgarden will join them on the podium. I think Rossi will be that guy this weekend. Newgarden has found trouble a lot this year, but I think that’s a different story now that we’re at the final day and he’ll find a way to stay on track and use his typical Team Penske advantage at a new track to do all he’ll need to do to take home the title.
My fantasy.indycar.com picks: Alexander Rossi, Felix Rosenqvist, Jack Harvey, & Conor Daly – You know my thoughts on Rossi. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rosenqvist took victory this weekend with the expected parallels to Mid-Ohio and the increased speed he’s shown at the end of the year. Harvey could have found himself on the podium, or at least Top 5, at Portland even he wasn’t taken out by Hunter-Reay. Daly will be eager to show what he can do in Andretti Autosport equipment this weekend.