By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel
The INDYCAR season continues this weekend with the Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and the Indy Lights Mazda Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by Cooper Tires. The Open Wheel will be on-site 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
Indy Lights Preview: Mazda Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by Cooper Tires (Entry List), Race 1 – Saturday, April 21, 2018 2:50PM (ET) & Race 2 – Sunday, April 22, 2018 1:00PM (ET) – Colton Herta and Nico Jamin were the winners at Barber last year in Race 1 and Race 2 so Herta automatically has to be one of the favorites this weekend. Santi Urrutia won Race 2 in 2016 but had awful luck last year. There are only eight cars on the entry list this week as neither Team Pelfrey car from St. Pete is on the list but Juncos Racing’s Alfonso Celis is back after missing out at St. Pete. Rookie Patricio O’Ward won both races in Pro Mazda back in 2016 and finished P8 and P15 in part-time duty with Team Pelfrey in Lights at Barber last year. The returning Andretti Autosport duo of Dalton Kellett and Ryan Norman struggled at Barber last year. My picks to win: Colton Herta & Patricio O’Ward
Verizon IndyCar Series Preview: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, Sunday, April 22, 2018 3:00PM (ET) NBCSN – Previous driver experience shows four former winners at Barber Motorsports Park in the field in Ryan Hunter-Reay (2), Josef Newgarden (2), Will Power (2), and Simon Pagenaud (1). The active Top 5 in laps led at Barber are Power (208), Hunter-Reay (93), Pagenaud (87), Newgarden (60), and Scott Dixon (44). Team Penske’s Newgarden and Pagenaud have won the last two races. Looking at the box scores 2017 and 2016, Newgarden and Pagenaud are the only drivers to earn Top 5 finishes in each of the last two years. If that’s expanded to the Top 10, those two are joined by Dixon, Hinchcliffe, and Kanaan. My pick to win: Will Power – This is my third time picking Power to win so far this season, through only four races, and race day hasn’t gone his way yet but I’m still confident in this pick. Power has won the pole in four of the eight races at the event, has two career wins at Barber, and had the field covered last year until a tire issue caused him to pit from the lead late in the race.
My fantasy.indycar.com picks: Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Jordan King – You know my thoughts on Power and he costs only $25 this week making him a bargain. Newgarden was fastest in the February open test, won the race last year, and has finished in the Top 5 in 50% of his races at Barber. Dixon has 7 Top 5’s and 8 Top 10’s in 8 starts at Barber. Make sure he’s in your team. King should provide good value at $12 with the speed he’s shown early this season. With any luck at all he’d have two Top 10’s or better. He was faster than teammate Pigot at the Barber open test.