By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel
The INDYCAR season continues this weekend with the Verizon IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. 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 Chris Owens/INDYCAR
Verizon IndyCar Series Preview: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Sunday, April 15, 2018 4:00PM (ET) NBCSN – Previous driver experience shows seven former winners at Long Beach in the field in Sebastien Bourdais (3), Will Power (2), Scott Dixon (1), James Hinchcliffe (1), Ryan Hunter-Reay (1), Simon Pagenaud (1), and Takuma Sato (1). The active Top 5 in laps led on the Streets of Long Beach are Bourdais (169), Power (162), Hunter-Reay (150), Dixon (103), and Sato (66). Looking at the box scores from 2017 and 2016, the last two winners at Long Beach are Hinchcliffe and Pagenaud. Dixon and Pagenaud have finished in the Top 5 in each of the last two years. If that’s expanded to the Top 10, those two are joined by Hinchcliffe, Bourdais, and Newgarden. The box score from last year doesn’t tell the full tale on Andretti Autosport as each Alexander Rossi and Hunter-Reay had engine problems late in the race that cost them podium finishes. Each of those cars and drivers have been fast so far this year and they will be contenders this weekend. Of course Robert Wickens will be one to watch at Long Beach as well as SPM was strong there last year with Hinch starting P4 and earning the win. Maybe Wickens’ speed will translate to his first Verizon IndyCar Series win. My pick to win: Alexander Rossi – Rossi almost pulled off the win at St. Pete from a P12 starting position and was far and away the fastest driver at Phoenix last weekend. He’s put on a show (good and bad) in the first two races of the season and could have won at Long Beach last year. He’s due to translate his speed to a victory and I’m sure he’d love nothing more than to do it this weekend in his home state.
My fantasy.indycar.com picks: Alexander Rossi, Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Jones – You know my thoughts on Rossi. Bourdais has been lightning quick so far this season and has probably been the class of the field outside of his pit incident at ISM Raceway. Add that to his illustrious history at Long Beach and he’s one of the big favorites this weekend. RHR went from starting on pit road to P5 at St. Pete and is always fast on street courses. Ed Jones won the final Indy Lights race at Long Beach in 2015, finished P6 in his first Verizon IndyCar Series race there last year with Coyne, and has looked fast with Ganassi so far this season making him a nice value pick this weekend.