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The month of May is here and, with it, two races that can turn the whole #INDYCAR Fantasy Challenge driven by Firestone season. For the drivers, a win at the Indianapolis 500 makes the whole season, even a career, so they can “go for it.” Fantasy winners know that consistency is the key, which makes this week’s INDYCAR Grand Prix on the road course a bit easier.
The grand prix is flat out easier from a fantasy perspective, just like any road course. Ovals have more risk because one incident can collect several drivers who could have gone on to score points, as we saw in Phoenix a couple weeks ago.
Team Penske domination continued at the first oval race, but back on the road course, other teams should have a better chance of pushing the Penskes this week. The Honda engine should be able to run a bit more with the pair of long straights at IMS. That said, you’ll want at least one Penske driver in your lineup this week, but which one? Simon Pagenaud is the easy pick given last year’s win and his continued dominance on track. But at $35, he must win or you’re hurt financially.
I think the better pick is 2015 race winner Will Power. He’s had some bad luck to start the season, but he’s also been very good when on track. At $29, Power gives the same kind of upside as the more expensive Pagenaud. An argument could be made to take Josef Newgarden at the same $29 or spend an extra dollar on Helio Castroneves, but I’m not going to put all my eggs in the Penske basket.
I’m stepping over to Scott Dixon, Mr. Consistency, who’s been top 10 in all the races so far, but doesn’t yet have a win. He’s run well on the road course in past years, but never put it together for a win. He’s likely to finish in the top five here, which is a solid value at $30.
I really like JR Hildebrand coming into this race. He missed Barber, but showed that the broken bone in his left hand isn’t bothering him that much. And at $21, he is a great value. The Ed Carpenter Racing team loves to push at Indy, so I expect him to go all out for the win.
My sleeper is Conor Daly ($15). I don’t think last year’s great performance at the race was a fluke. The Indy area native wants to win for the home crowd and another top finish in the AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet is quite possible. Daly’s one where, if he could get a couple good breaks, could end up on the podium.
So this week’s team for me is Power, Dixon, Hildebrand and Daly. That leaves $5 on the board, so I could have swapped out Dixon for Pagenaud, but I’ll stick with my four. I’m going to put up big points again this week. How about you?