By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel
The Verizon IndyCar Series continues this weekend with the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway. The Open Wheel will be on-site 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
Verizon IndyCar Series Preview: Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix, Saturday, April 29 9:00PM (ET) NBCSN – Scott Dixon led 155 of 250 laps and won in the Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to Phoenix last season. The box score from 2016 shows Chevy’s dominance at the circuit last year but results from testing and Honda’s strength to start the year has likely lessened that advantage. Previous driver experience at Phoenix shows there are three former winners in the field this season in Tony Kanaan (2), Helio Castroneves (1), and Scott Dixon (1). My pick to win: Josef Newgarden – Newgarden grabbed an impressive P6 at Phoenix with ECR last year, absolutely dominated the last Verizon IndyCar Series race on a short oval at Iowa, was third fastest in Phoenix testing this winter, and is coming off of his first win with Team Penske last weekend at Barber. We just might be witnessing the start of an early 2016 Pagenaud-esque run from the young American.
My fantasy.indycar.com picks: Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi, Ed Carpenter – You know my thoughts on Newgarden. Dixon dominated last year and though he’s now driving a Honda at a track they struggled at last year, I expect that deficit to be much less dramatic. Rossi was very impressive last year at Phoenix in his debut on an oval, obviously won at Indy, and has been excellent so far this season. I expect him to have a strong weekend. Ed Carpenter and JR Hildebrand are a BARGAIN at only $15/each this weekend. They were 1-2 in the test at Phoenix in February. I’m going with Carpenter, who is due for a lot of good luck, as it’s tough to pick Hildebrand in his first race back after a wrist injury.