By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel
The INDYCAR season continues this weekend with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES 2021 Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on the Streets of Nashville, Tennessee. The Open Wheel will be covering the action all weekend so stay tuned to this site and our Twitter page @openwh33l for all of the latest news.
Photo by Parker Hall/The Open Wheel
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Preview: Big Machine Music City Grand Prix – Sunday, August 8, 2021 5:30PM (ET) NBCSN – It’s a huge weekend for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for the inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on the exciting new street course on the Streets of Nashville. I cannot wait to see the spectacle of 27 entries (!!!) head across a bridge two times every lap this weekend. The huge field reflects the excitement surrounding this event as this has been a big one ever since the event was suggested, never mind all the tremendous joy since details have emerged and finalized for the course, race, surrounding concerts and events, etc. Meyer Shank Racing’s Helio Castroneves returns to the series for his second race this season and his first since his famous victory in the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
We typically look at past history at a circuit in this preview, but that’s obviously impossible with a brand new event. Instead, we’ll focus on street course results this year. There have been three races on street courses this season, here are the box scores from Detroit/Belle Isle Race 1 and Race 2 and St. Pete. Colton Herta, Marcus Ericsson, and Pato O’Ward are the race winners from those events while Herta, O’Ward (not the race he won), and Newgarden earned the pole position for those races. No driver finished in the Top 5 in all three races. Newgarden, Scott Dixon, and Ericsson were the only drivers to finish in the Top 10 in those races.
My pick to win: Race: Josef Newgarden – Newgarden has been ultra quick of late and will want this race as much as any he’s competed in as everyone is billing this as his hometown race. Newgarden is the overwhelming favorite heading into the weekend and I expect him to back it up with a victory from pole.
My fantasy.indycar.com picks: Marcus Ericsson, Colton Herta, Graham Rahal, & Ed Jones – I’m going with solid over spectacular here. With the assigned driver price amounts this weekend, this is almost impossible until we see qualifying results. However, I like Ericsson and Herta due to their street course wins and solid results on street courses this season. Rahal still needs better results on qualifying day but almost no one races better than him and he has a way of sneaking onto a podium or a Top 5 in big events like this. Jones is the best of the budget picks this weekend and will need some big results to finish the season to secure his ride for 2022.