INDYCAR Previews

Preview – 2018 Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix

By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel

The INDYCAR season continues this weekend with the Verizon IndyCar Series Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix at ISM 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.

Preview - 2018 Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix - 2017 PHOENIX 17

Photo by Parker Hall/The Open Wheel

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Verizon IndyCar Series Preview: Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix, Saturday, April 7, 2018 9:00PM (ET) NBCSN – Previous driver experience shows three former winners at Phoenix in the field in Tony Kanaan (2), Scott Dixon (1), and Simon Pagenaud (1). The active Top 5 in laps led at ISM Raceway are Kanaan (272), Dixon (189), Pagenaud (116), Will Power (59), and Josef Newgarden (2). Looking at the box scores from 2017 and 2016, Pagenaud and Dixon have won in the last two years since the Verizon IndyCar Series returned to Phoenix. Pagenaud, Power, and Dixon have finished in the Top 5 in each of the last two years. If that’s expanded to the Top 10, those two are joined by Kanaan and Newgarden. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing cars dominated at the open test at ISM Raceway with Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal topping all four sessions (combined results here). Andretti Autosport and AJ Foyt Racing each looked stronger than last year in testing. It should be a wide open affair. My pick to win: Will Power – Power is fast everywhere and that will no doubt be the case this weekend. After plenty of success at Phoenix over the last two years I think he’ll be hungrier than ever for the win this weekend. Early accidents from front row positions in the last short oval the series raced on (Gateway) and the season opener this year (St. Pete) should give Power all the motivation he needs to find the top step of the podium this weekend.

My picks: Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Takuma Sato, & Tony Kanaan – In Power and Pagenaud my team gets two quick Penske drivers who have each finished in the Top 3 in each of the last two races at Phoenix. Sato was ultra quick in testing at ISM Raceway and will almost certainly be a factor during the race on Saturday night. TK might be a bit of a reach but each of the Foyt cars showed speed during the test and they’re optimistic about this weekend. Kanaan has had a lot of success at ISM Raceway in the past and this is a big chance for him to elevate his new team.