Rely on throwbacks and changing fortunes for Road America picks

Updated: 

The second half of the NTT IndyCar Series and INDYCAR Fantasy Challenge Driven by Firestone starts this weekend at one of the most historic venues in American road racing. It’s that point in the season where I begin to add data from the current season into past results to decide on which drivers I want to “hire” for my fantasy team each weekend.

Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing have been the dominant teams since the NTT IndyCar Series returned to Road America in 2016, so it makes sense to grab a driver from each of those powerhouse squads for the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR.

Choosing from the Ganassi camp was the easiest decision I had for this weekend. Scott Dixon ($29) “checks all the boxes” that I look for in an anchor driver. Dixon will be making his sixth start at “America’s National Park of Speed,” collecting one win, two podiums and three top-five finishes in those races. Also, with 109 points, Dixon is the highest-scoring driver on the first three natural terrain circuits where the NTT IndyCar Series has raced this year.

Josef Newgarden, a winner at Road America last year, would seem to be the obvious choice as my Team Penske representative, but he’s a little pricey ($34) and limits my options to fill out the rest of my roster and be within the $100 salary cap limit.

Will Power ($27), the Road America winner in 2016, is the Team Penske driver I chose for this weekend’s fantasy squad. With such a long lap, track position on the 4.014-mile, 14-turn circuit is key to a strong result. That means qualifying is essential. In five previous Road America races, the Aussie has started on the front row four times, making him an obvious choice.

In his four previous starts at Road America, Graham Rahal ($24) has a pair of podiums and an average finish of 5.0. That stat alone makes the second-generation Indy car driver an excellent value pick. Rahal is also driving a throwback livery, inspired by the 1994 car his father drove at Road America. When Rahal’s teammate, Takuma Sato, ran a Mi-Jack tribute livery at the Indianapolis 500, he finished third – so I am thinking the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing throwback mojo will continue.

Filling out my team and maxing me out at $100 is Colton Herta ($20). Another second-generation racer, Herta won earlier this season on another permanent road course, Circuit of The Americas. The teenager has had zero luck since that win, and I’m banking on it changing.

Don’t forget to get your picks in at fantasy.indycar.com before the green flag flies for the race at approximately 12:50 p.m. ET Sunday.

From the fans