By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel
The INDYCAR season concludes this weekend with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES INDYCAR finale at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The Open Wheel will be covering the action all weekend so stay tuned to this site and our Twitter page @openwh33l for all of the latest news.
Photo by Parker Hall/The Open Wheel
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Preview: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – Sunday, October 25, 2020 2:30PM (ET) NBC – For the 15th consecutive season, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion will be decided at the season finale as Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden will battle to decide the 2020 champion. Dixon’s giant lead is down to just 32 points, but that’s still a huge mountain for Newgarden to climb now that double points are NOT on offer for the finale. This weekend will mark the NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut of V8 Supercars legend Scott McLaughlin with Team Penske in the No. 3 entry.
Previous driver experience at St. Pete shows four former winners in the field in Sebastien Bourdais (2), Will Power (2), Newgarden (1), and Graham Rahal (1). The two most recent winners are Newgarden (2019) and Bourdais (2018). Looking at the box scores from the last two St. Pete races in 2019 and 2018, only Alexander Rossi has finished in the Top 5 in each of the last two races. If that’s expanded to the Top 10, Rossi is joined by Newgarden, Dixon, Power, and James Hinchcliffe.
My picks to win: Race: Will Power & Champion: Scott Dixon – Will Power is the undisputed king of NTT INDYCAR SERIES street course qualifying and should be an excellent bet for pole this weekend. Coming off a strong showing in Harvest GP Race 2, I like Power for the win this weekend. When it comes to the championship, I think Dixon delivers the Top 9 finish he needs even if Newgarden grabs the win and maximum bonus points. This isn’t Dixon’s strongest track, but he’s so good at avoiding trouble and taking advantage of any opportunity that comes his way regardless of adversity that I don’t think this will be decided by Newgarden’s result. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Newgarden dominates this weekend and maximizes his points, or maybe gets some helpful “team orders” late to boost his position from his Team Penske teammates, but it would be surprising to see Dixon end up in the amount of trouble necessary for that to matter.
My fantasy.indycar.com picks: Will Power, Alexander Rossi, Rinus VeeKay, & Sebastien Bourdais – You know my thoughts on Power. Rossi has put together a strong second half of the season and I like his chances for a podium this weekend. VeeKay is a must-have before the weekend based on his speed everywhere at just $21. I like Bourdais to round out this lineup, he has great results at St. Pete in the past and this is a circuit where he may be able to outperform his car to some extent.