By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel
This weekend history will be made at the much anticipated 100th Running of The Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. There are massive storylines throughout the field as James Hinchcliffe won the pole in his near-miraculous return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Simon Pagenaud looks for his fourth straight Verizon IndyCar Series win, Helio Castroneves attempts to join the elite club of four-time Indy 500 winners, and the list goes on and on. The Open Wheel will be live on site covering the race weekend so stay tuned to this site and our Twitter page @openwh33l for all the action.
Photo by Parker Hall/The Open Wheel
Indy Lights Preview: Mazda Freedom 100 Presented by Cooper Tires (Entry List), Friday May 27, 2016 12:30PM (ET) NBCSN – Results from last year’s Freedom 100 are almost useless as 4 of the Top 6 drivers won’t be in this year’s race. RC Enerson (P4) and Kyle Kaiser (P5) are the highest returning finishers from ’15. The Belardi Auto Racing cars of Zach Veach and Felix Rosenqvist led the Promoter Test this week and figure to be strong again in the race. I’m intrigued to see how Ed Jones and Felix Serralles will do but Carlin hasn’t shown consistent speed on the big oval yet so I’m hesitant to pick them. I think this one will come down to a three-way battle between Enerson, Kaiser, and Veach with Enerson barely winning the race at the bricks. My pick to win: RC Enerson
Verizon IndyCar Series Preview: The 100th Running of The Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Presented by Penngrade Motor Oil, Sunday May 29, 2016 11:00AM (ET) ABC – Oh how sweet it is to write a preview for a race with the starting grid already set. Previous driver experience is extremely valuable in this race and definitely worth a click. Defending champion Juan Pablo Montoya and teammate Helio Castroneves are the only multiple 500 winners in the show but the field is loaded with capable drivers ready to snag a first or second win. 2015 and 2014 box scores from the 500 show Montoya as the only driver with back-to-back Top 5’s but Power, Andretti, Castroneves, and Hildebrand have consecutive Top 10’s. My pick to win: Simon Pagenaud – I said going into the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis I would pick Pagenaud until he gave me a reason not to and a third straight win has sold me on the idea again. He hasn’t had a brilliant “month” on the oval but he’s always been relevant and absolutely will be a factor on race day. Pagenaud has completed all 800 laps possible in his 4 appearances in the race. He had a great drive going with the best car in the field last year before taking some damage and fighting hydration issues. I had a feeling the first time his Menards livery was unveiled that it simply *looked* like an iconic 500 winner and everything that’s gone his way recently has only reinforced that idea for me. Look for Simon to drink the milk on Sunday.
My fantasy.indycar.com picks: Simon Pagenaud, Marco Andretti, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Juan Pablo Montoya, James Hinchcliffe, Josef Newgarden, Sage Karam, Townsend Bell, Alexander Rossi – Yes you read that correctly. INDYCAR has changed up the format for this race and you get $500 to spend on 10 drivers. Driver price values range from $20 (Brabham, Clauson, Karam, Lazier, and Wilson) to $80 (Montoya). Honestly the ranges vary so much here that you should be able to put together a comfortable team however you see fit. I love the value of Karam, Rossi, Bell, Hinchcliffe, and Newgarden. They should allow you to load up on the veterans as you wish.