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GMR Grand Prix: INDYCAR Fantasy Picks

Will Power topped the chart in opening practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the IndyCar Grand Prix. [John Wiedemann Photo]

You are going to want to include a Team Penske driver in your picks, but which one. [John Wiedemann Photo]

This weekend starts the action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the “Month of May”. The GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course is the fifth race of the NTT IndyCar Series 2021 schedule. Twenty-six drivers will compete to win the eighth running of the event.
The race is set for Saturday afternoon beginning at 2 pm ET and will be broadcast on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network. Practice sessions start on Friday with two 45 minute sessions at 9:30 am ET and then 1 pm ET. NTT P1 Award qualifying is set to run on Friday afternoon at 4:30pm ET. Practice and qualifying will be streamed on Peacock Premium. Qualifying will be replayed on MBCSN at 6 pm ET.

Join in the fun with the INDYCAR Fantasy Challenge (https://fantasy.indycar.com/).

Recapping the Last Race

Scott Dixon and Pato O’Ward took the wins in the double-header weekend in Texas. Surprises were Scott McLaughlin finishing a strong runner-up to Dixon in the opener and O’Ward’s first victory in the series. Graham Rahal had a podium finish in the second race to go along with a fifth place finish in the first. Alex Palou also had a great weekend with a 4th and 7th place finish.

My picks in the INDYCAR Fantasy Challenge were Colton Herta (22nd), Pato O’Ward (3rd), Ryan Hunter-Reay (16th) and Conor Daly (21st) in the first race which didn’t go well for me or some of those drivers. I was able to bounce back in the second race with Josef Newgarden (2nd), McLaughlin (8th), O’Ward (winner) and Harvey (17th). Failing right-rear wheel bearings hurt me in both races with Herta and then Harvey. Hopefully this week is better as I am currently 1242nd overall in the IndyCar Fantasy Challenge.

GMR Grand Prix

The GMR Grand Prix will be run on the 14 turn, 2.439-mile road course and is an 85 lap race.

High Salary Drivers $32-$26

This group includes Dixon ($32), Newgarden ($31), Will Power ($30), O’Ward ($29), Alex Palou ($28), Colton Herta ($28), Simon Pagenaud ($27), Graham Rahal ($26), Alexander Rossi ($27) and Takuma Sato ($26).

Three Team Penske drivers fill this list and you are going to want to take at least one of them, but which one? Pagenaud is the least expensive but has three wins and four podium appearances with an average finish of 7.7. Newgarden has one win in the fall race at this track and an average finish of 11.9. Power has four wins and five poles and an average finish of 7.1. Those stats don’t make picking any easier. One driver I really like from this group is Rahal. His average finish at this track is 7.4 making it one of his best tracks on the schedule. Obviously, there is always Dixon. Dixon is the defending race winner of this event and has a 6.2 average finish. Rossi has had his struggles this season and was caught up in the opening lap crash at Texas. He could be a force to reckon with coming into Indy.

Medium Salary Drivers $25-$23

This group includes Marcus Ericsson ($25), Felix Rosenqvist ($25), Sebastien Bourdais ($24), Jack Harvey ($24, +$2 from last race), James Hinchcliffe ($24), Ryan Hunter-Reay ($24), Juan Pablo Montoya ($24) and Rinus VeeKay ($24, +$1 from last).

Look no further than the top of this list for Sweden’s Ericsson and Rosenqvist. Ericsson has an average finish of 13.8 that he will look to improve on. Rosenqvist, who starting to make some noise with Arrow McLaren SP this year, had the pole in 2019 and a solid 9.8 average finish. Veekay at the end of the mid-dollar pack is someone to think about as well. Harvey may has been fantastic in the last few races and could finding his first victory in the series very soon.

Possible Bargain Drivers? $22-$18

This group includes Conor Daly ($22), Scott McLaughlin ($22), Max Chilton ($20), Ed Jones ($20), Charlie Kimball ($20), Romain Grosjean $20, Jimmie Johnson ($18) and Dalton Kellett ($18).

If you are trying to fill your team with high dollar drivers, you will need to look deep here. Grosjean and Johnson, both at $20, could be worth the money. Grosjean has shown well in the series so far and Johnson has made continuous improvement. Johnson was fantastic on the oval in a stockcar and has driven this course in an IndyCar previously. Kimball returns to the series for the Indianapolis races and had great success in the first three races of this event where he scored a fifth place finish in each race from 2014-2016 driving for Chip Ganassi.

There you go, this race kicks off a great Month of May in Indianapolis. Good luck with your picks. In two weeks I’ll share my results and preview the field for the Indianapolis 500.

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