By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel
This weekend the Verizon IndyCar Series heads to the west coast for the 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Near perfect weather is expected and it should be an excellent weekend of racing. 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon finally broke through and won his first race at Long Beach last year and he’ll surely be a contender once again this weekend. Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud each have consecutive Top 5’s at the event and are off to great starts again this year leading them to be right in the conversation of favorites.
Photo Courtesy of Chris Owens/INDYCAR
Preview: 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Sunday April 17, 2016 4:00PM (ET) NBCSN – As mentioned in the opening, Dixon, Montoya, and Pagenaud come into the race as clear contenders but previous results at Long Beach show a long list of capable winners. You look at that list and see that the only multiple race winners at Long Beach currently in the series are Sebastien Bourdais (3) and Will Power (2) and it’s easy to imagine either coming up with a win on Sunday. Recent history at Long Beach in 2015 and 2014 shows plenty of consistency at the top of the box score. Montoya, Pagenaud, Andretti, and Munoz each had Top 10’s in each of the last two years at Long Beach (as did Sebastian Saavedra surprisingly enough). My pick to win: Simon Pagenaud – Pagenaud has yet to grab his first victory for Team Penske but the current points leader has been posting consistently strong finishes for some time now and is due for a big win. In addition to his Top 5’s over the last two years he was P8 in ’13 and P2 in ’12 at Long Beach so this seems like THE place for the Frenchman’s breakthrough.
My fantasy.indycar.com picks: Simon Pagenaud, Sebastien Bourdais, Marco Andretti, and Mikhail Aleshin – It’s a tough week for fantasy picks this week as the “favorites” are all in the $30+ range and that can make filling the rest of your team difficult. Street race unpredictability means surely someone in that $15-17 range will come through with a Top 5-ish result but good luck getting that choice right. I tried to pick a well-balanced lineup and I’m happy with what I’ve come up with. You know my feelings on Pagenaud from the previous paragraph and Sebastien Bourdais is a three-time winner at Long Beach who won a street race last year. Marco Andretti has looked racy this year, is due a little luck, and has back to back Top 10’s at Long Beach so I think he’s a pretty safe pick for a solid result. Mikhail Aleshin is a bargain at $18 based on his early speed and results.