Indy Elite: Fontana caps off 2021 Season

By: Tim Doyle
October 19, 2021

The final race of the 16 race season of the 2021 Coca Cola Bottling of Kokomo Indy Elite converged on Auto Club Speedway in California.

Qualifying Recap

20 drivers signed in to compete for 200 laps around the two mile oval, with 19 of them taking the green.

In qualifying, Philip Kraus set the fastest lap for pole with a 31.899 over Andreas Eik (31.943).

Placing 3rd was Rob Powers (31.946) with Chris Stofer and Bryan Carey rounding out the top 5.

The field lines up for the start (Tim Doyle/iRacing.com)

Race Recap

Eik jumped out to the early advantage at the start when Kraus got off to a bad start dropping to 4th by the end of the first lap. At the end of lap two it was Stofer out front over Eik, Henry Bennett, Kraus still in 4th and Adam Crane in 5th.

On Lap 6, Kraus would pull out on the front stretch and blast by the Top 3 cars to grab the lead. Andrew Wood drove his way to the lead on lap 11 after starting 10th.

One lap later Jason Brophy, who started 18th, rocketed to the lead before the race’s first yellow flew the next lap when the cars of Adam Blocker, Trevor Greenfield and AJ Musselman came together off turn 4 while being three wide. David Adams and Evan Adams were also involved with all but Adams done for the race.

Andrew Kinsella would stay out under yellow to assume the lead on the restart over Wood, Kraus, Bennett and Brophy. Bennett would move himself into the lead on lap 18 and swap it each lap with Kinsella.

With staying out on the first yellow it would mean Kinsella would have to pit off-cycle which he did on Lap 33, thus losing a lap. Scheduled pit stops started to occur on Lap 45 when Bennett pitted from the lead over Brophy, Wood, Kraus and Eik.

The rest of the pack would pit over the next few laps with the Top nine drivers all running together maintaining their gap over the rest of the field after completion of their pit stops. Pitting would start to occur again when Bennett would pit from the lead pack on lap 76 with some stretching their fuel to lap 84 when Eik and Robert Maleczka III finally pitted.

As the pit stops cycled through, it was Kraus with the lead over Crane, Brophy, Matt Hollibaugh and Eik back in 5th, just one second off the lead. After this round of stops the lead back was down to seven drivers currently within touch of the lead.

On Lap 109, Bennett would be the first to stop with Kraus, Crane and Hollibaugh pitting on Lap 113, rejoining just ahead of Bennett. Eik and Maleczka III would go further again before pitting on Lap 117. Brophy would suffer a speeding penalty when he pitted from 4th on Lap 112, dropping him a lap down.

An eventful night capped off the season for Jason Brohpy (Tim Doyle/iRacing.com)

Eik and Hollibaugh would take their turn at the front of the field after this round of pit stops, with now eight cars within 1.5 seconds of the lead and just nine cars on the lead lap. At the 300 mile mark (Lap 150), with the exception of the four drivers involved in the race’s first and only yellow on Lap 12, all cars that started the race were still running with nine cars on the lead lap (9) and another five cars one or more laps down.

Eik bailed on the long-run strategy leaving Maleczka III the remaining driver to stay out longer than others, finally pitting on Lap 151. Note- Stofer would lose control exiting the pits on lap 40 costing him valuable time and losing touch with the leaders.

Bennett and Carey also would lose time to the leaders during pitting placing them 3+ seconds off the five car lead pack lead by Kraus over Crane, Hollibaugh, Eik and Maleczka III setting up a critical final pit stop for a shootout at the end.

Kraus and Crane would be the first of the leaders to pit for their final stop on Lap 176, with Kraus slightly missing his stall costing him precious seconds, but able to maintain the gap behind Crane. Hollibaugh would be next on the following lap, nailing his lap in the process. Eik would pit in on Lap 180 and Maleczka III would pit on Lap 181.

With just 20 laps to go, all five drivers would resume their fight altogether once they were back up to speed, swapping positions every lap. The drivers kept this up down to the checkered flag where Maleczka III was able to fend off the challenges of Eik and Hollibaugh. Kraus and Crane would round out the Top 5.

The 2021 season ended in spectacular fashion (Tim Doyle/iRacing.com)

With his 2nd place finish, Kraus would wrestle the lead away from Blocker and win the 2021 Coca Cola Bottling of Kokomo Indy Elite title, overcoming a five-point deficit entering the night. Eik would place 3rd in the season standings while Bennett and Kinsella round out the top 5.

Race Stats

Box Score

Laps- 200

Cautions- 1

Lead Changes- 57

Fastest: 31.758 (Matt Hollibaugh)

Cars on the lead lap- 7

Polesitter- Philip Kraus 31.899

Header Image By Tim Doyle/iRacing.com

Indy Elite: Kingsbury takes dominant win at Iowa

By: Tim Doyle
October 3, 2021

The 2021 Coca Cola Bottling of Kokomo Indy Elite Series came to Iowa Speedway for its penultimate round at Iowa Speedway for 160 laps around the .894-mile oval. 16 cars entered the race.

Qualifying Recap

Jason Brophy snagged the pole with a lap of 16.469 by just three thousandths of a second over Philip Kraus (16.472). Andrew Wood showed well in 3rd with a 16.477 lap, another five thousandths off Kraus. Ray Kingsbury and David Adams rounded out the top 5.

Race Recap

Box Score

While Brophy would lead from the start, Kingsbury would show his strength early in the race, moving into 3rd on Lap 6, then around Kraus for 2nd on Lap 12. He would catch Brophy by lap 16 and the two of them would battle side-by-side for 10 laps before Kingsbury would finally wrestle the lead away on Lap 26.

Kingsbury would stretch his lead out to just over five seconds before the race’s first round of pits stops started to occur on Lap 51 when he pitted from the lead. Brophy would pit from 2nd place a lap later with Kraus a lap after that handing the lead to Adam Blocker.

Just as the last cars were hitting pit road, Andrew Kinsella lost control bringing out the race’s first yellow. He would retire from the race and setup a huge wave around coming to the restart on Lap 60.

Adam Brophy works his way past the wrecked car of Andrew Kinsella (Tim Doylele/iRacing)

AJ Musselman would lead the field to green over Joe Branch, Blocker, Kingsbury and Adams with lapped cars mixed throughout the field. Once again, Kingsbury would be the class of the field, working his way through the cars ahead of him, re-taking the lead on Lap 77 from Musselman.

Just as he did on the first green flag run he would buildup a sizeable lead before having to pit again under green on Lap 108, handing the lead back to Musselman who continued to circle the short oval just ahead of Blocker and Branch.

Blocker would pit from 2nd on Lap 110 but as he rejoined the race on cold tires, contact would be made between he and Kraus who pitted a couple laps earlier. While Kraus suffered significant damage, he was able to rejoin the race, albeit off the pace.

The race would restart on Lap 118 with Kingsbury leading over Blocker, Musselman, Andreas Eik and Branch in 5th. Kingsbury would bring it home to the checkered flag with a dominant performance over Blocker and Musselman nearly five and 10 seconds back respectively. Eik and Henry Bennett rounded out the top 5 with Branch in 6th, the only cars on the lead lap.

Kingsbury earns his first win of 2021 (Tim Doyle/iRacing.com)

Race Stats

Laps- 160

Cautions- 2

Lead Changes- 10

Fastest lap- 16.653 (Andrew Wood)

Cars on the lead lap- 6

Polesitter- Jason Brophy 16.469

Header Image By Tim Doyle/iRacing.com

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: Betting Preview

By: Joe Branch
September 24, 2021

It’s been a fun season and as unpredictable as any in recent memory.  The NTT Indycar Series has had 9 different winners this season.  Alex Palou enters the finale at Long Beach with a 35 point lead for the championship over Pato O’ward.  

The weekend kicks off on Friday with the first practice at 6:00 PM ET.  This gives us plenty of time to get our pre weekend bets in.  Saturday will see a 2nd practice at 12:00 PM ET and then qualifications at 3:00 PM ET.  The most historic grand prix on the calendar will take place Sunday at 3:00 PM ET. 

The Favorites

Round 16 of the 2021 season and for the first time of the year, Colton Herta comes into the weekend as the odds on favorite at +400 (4 to 1). 

It makes sense that Colton is the favorite here as he is coming off of a win last weekend at Laguna, he won on the streets of St. Pete this season, and he was clearly the fastest car in the most recent street race at Nashville.  4 to 1 is decent value for someone who is very likely to qualify near the sharp end of the grid. 

Next on the list of favorites are the main championship contenders, Alex Palou and Pato O’ward enter the weekend at +450 (4.5 to 1). 

Dixon, the 2015 Long Beach winner, is the only driver in the Top Eight in points to have won or started on the pole

I don’t see a lot of value in  either of these picks. The drivers will be forced to focus more on the championship scenario than actually winning the race.   Unless Pato qualifies on pole and runs away with it, both drivers will be playing the risk vs. reward pit strategy game and Palou will be focused on simply shadowing Pato for most of the afternoon.  

The last of the “favorites” include Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon at +800 (8 to 1).  This is good value for these two at a track that they have both had some success at. 

Value

Alexander Rossi has won the last two races at Long Beach and has done so from the pole! Huge value can be found in his +900 (9 to 1) odds.  I expected him to be one of the favorites at around 5 to 1 this weekend.  That 9 to 1 price won’t last long.

Rossi (2018 and 2019 winner) will look to join Al Unser Jr. (1988-1991) and Sebastien Bourdais (2004-2006) as winneed of three consecutive races at Long Beach (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

Marcus Ericsson comes into the weekend at +1800 (18 to 1).  Ericsson’s two wins this season have come on street courses, there’s no doubt that his confidence will be sky high for this one.

Long Shots

The long shot opening odds are showing some real value this week.  One that stands out the most is Ryan Hunter-Reay at +9000 (90 to 1).  This is RHR’s last race with Andretti Autosport.  He has always been fast at Long Beach so there’s no doubt the pace will be there.  How fitting would it be for Captain America to win his final race for the team, at the same place in which he won his first race for Andretti in 2010.

James Hinchcliffe is also believed to be in his last race with Andretti Autosport.  He is +13000 (130 to 1) this weekend.  It has been a season to forget for the Mayor but he is a former winner at this track and finished on the podium in the most recent street race at Nashville.  

A 2010 win at Long Beach with Andretti Autosport changed the career trajectory of Ryan Hunter-Reay. On Sunday, he will make his final start with the team (Richard Dowdy/INDYCAR)

Lastly, Oliver Askew is +10000 (100 to 1).  Askew is in his third consecutive race with RLL and was in the Firestone fast 6 last week.  He has had pace at every track and is looking to earn a seat for next season. 

My Picks

Favorite: Colton Herta 4 to 1 to win, 1.15 to 1 to podium

Value: Alexander Rossi 9 to 1 to win, 2.5 to 1 to podium and Marcus Ericsson 18 to 1 to win, 5 to 1 to podium

Long Shot: Ryan Hunter-Reay 90 to 1 to win, 25 to 1 to podium, Oliver Askew 100 to 1 to win, 28 to 1 to podium and James Hinchcliffe 130 to 1 to win, 35 to 1 to podium

Header Image By Chris Owens/INDYCAR

Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey: Betting Preview

By: Joe Branch
September 17, 2021

Just two races remain in the 2021 NTT Indycar Season and we now have a clear favorite in the championship.  Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou won his third race of the season last week in Portland giving him a 25 point lead over Pato O’Ward.  

This weekend is a three day show which usually means odds are reset after each session.  The first practice takes place Friday at 5:30 PM ET.  Qualifying takes place on Saturday at 5:05 PM ET.  

The Favorites

For the first time this season points leader Alex Palou enters the race weekend as the odds on favorite to win the race at +500 (5 to 1).  Palou is the only driver to have three wins this season and they have all come on natural terrain road courses like Laguna Seca.

+500 is pretty good value for a favorite coming into a weekend, Palou and CGR have also qualified very well on these types of tracks so there is no reason to believe that these odds would get any better after Saturday.

Palou and the No. 10 team celebrate after Sunday’s race in Portland (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Colton Herta is next on the odds list at +550 (5.5 to 1).  Colton dominated and won the race in 2019 from the pole position, although this season, most of his success has seemed to come on street courses and not the natural terrain road courses.  

Two other favorites come in at +600 (6 to 1), Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon.  Both of these former champions are still alive in this year’s championship and will be pulling out all of the stops in Monterey. 

+600 is the best opening value for either driver in a while.  I especially like the value it provides for Dixon as he seemed to find the qualifying pace that had been missing most of the season, last week in Portland.  Dixon qualified 2nd here in 2019 and finished 3rd.  

Value

Coming off of his best finish of the season, Alexander Rossi comes into the weekend at +1400 (14 to 1).  Rossi was quoted this week saying that he thinks they found something over the summer break.  The Andretti Autosport driver had similar odds last to open up last weekend and was down to around 7 to 1 on most sports books after qualifying towards the front of the field.  

Rahal finished 10th after he led 36 laps at Portland, the most of any driver on Sunday (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Value can be found in Graham Rahal this weekend at +2000 (20 to 1).  In the past, you would always want to wait until after qualifying to bet on Graham as he and the team struggled to put that one lap together.  However, last week at Portland he made the Firestone Fast 6, the first he’d done so since the Indianapolis Grand Prix in July of 2020.  If they finally found some qualifying pace, Graham is a threat to win week in and week out. 

One other place that you could find some value is with Romain Grosjean at +1800 (18 to 1)  Grosjean missed the braking zone in turn one last week and took out a few drivers including himself.  Before that Grosjean had barely put a wheel wrong all season and has been knocking on the door of his first win.

Long Shots

There are even more drivers than usual that are coming in at +5000 or worse this weekend, including five Indycar race winners.  These drivers include Bourdais, Hunter-Reay, Castroneves, Hinchcliffe, and Sato.  

Castroneves (2000) is the only driver in that group to have previously won at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course in Salinas, California. He won the 2000 CART event at the venue.

Harvey and Michael Shank Racing were one of a handful of teams to test at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on March 1 (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Value can again be found in Jack Harvey this week at +5000 (50 to 1).  He qualifies better than these odds every week so I’m surprised that they keep giving him the 50 to 1 marker.

From the list of former winners above, I love the idea of taking cheap flyers on Ryan Hunter-Reay at +8000 (80 to 1) and Takuma Sato at +10000 (100 to 1).

My Picks

Favorites: Scott Dixon (6 to 1 to win and 1.6 to 1 to podium)

Value: Alexander Rossi (14 to 1 to win and 4 to 1 to podium) and Graham Rahal (20 to 1 to win and 5.5 to 1 to podium)

Long Shots: Jack Harvey (50 to 1 to win and 14 to 1 to podium) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (80 to 1 to win and 22 to 1 to podium)

Header Image By Stephen V. King/INDYCAR Odds from DraftKings (9/15)

Indy Elite: Kraus continues winning streak at Laguna Seca

By: Tim Doyle
September 14, 2021

The 2021 Coca Cola Bottling of Kokomo Indy Elite Series headed to the scenic Laguna Seca for the Monterey GP. The 45-lap race was round 15 of the 17-round series.

Qualifying

In qualifying Philip Kraus set the pace with a lap of 1:06.420 over Adam Crane (1:06.757). Adam Blocker (1:07.023) was 3rd with Bryan Carey and Trevor Greenfield rounding out the Top 5.

Race Recap

Kraus was able to get the lead into turn 1 over Crane and Blocker. Further back, 5th place starting Greenfield had a mishap through the corkscrew and fell back to 10th position.

By the time the first round of pit stops started to occur on Lap 19, Kraus was able to stretch his lead out to a comfortable 8 seconds over Crane with Blocker another two seconds behind. Everyone was able to make it through them without mistake.

On Lap 30 while approaching the corkscrew, Joe Branch lost control while racing Greenfield and Charles Anti collecting Greenfield in the process. They were both eliminated from the race.

Branch and Greenfield collide in the famed “Corkscrew” (Tim Doyle/iRacing.com)

With just five laps to go, Andreas Eik and Robert Maleczaka III had a coming together in turn 5 when Maleczaka missed his braking and ran up the backside of Eik taking them both out.

Kraus was able to put his car in cruise control from the start and stretch out his lead each lap coming home 14+ seconds over Crane. Blocker, Carey and Andrew Kinsella would round out the Top 5.

Eik and Maleczaka collide late in Tuesday night’s race (Tim Doyle/iRacing.com)

Up Next

Just two races remain for the 2021 Coca Cola Bottling of Kokomo Indy Elite Series which are two ovals, the short oval of Iowa Speedway and the 2 mile Auto Club Speedway in California. Both races are in October on the 3rd and 19th.

Race Stats

Box Score

Kraus takes the checkered flag for his series-leading sixth win of 2021 (Tim Doyle/iRacing.com)

Laps- 45

Cautions- 0

Lead Changes- 2

Fastest lap- 1:07.316: (Philip Kraus)

Cars on the lead lap- 7

Polesitter- Philip Kraus 1:06.420

Header Image By Tim Doyle/iRacing.com

Grand Prix of Portland: Betting Preview

By: Joe Branch
September 10, 2021

Three races remain in the 2021 championship and there are six drivers that have a shot at the Astor Cup. Indycar returned to Portland in 2018 for the first time in 11 years as ChampCar was last there in 2007. 

Race starts at Portland have proven to be wild.  The braking zone into turn one is very wide and inviting.  Championship contenders will likely be in survival mode on lap one while those desperate for a result could make things very interesting. 

This weekend is a two day show with the first practice at 12:00 PM ET on Saturday.  Qualifying will take place at 3:15 PM ET, which means there will be plenty of time for updated odds Saturday night or Sunday morning.  

The Favorites

Josef Newgarden has been the odds on favorite for the opening line for most of the season.  Portland is no exception as JNew comes in at +450 (4.5 to 1).  Newgarden definitely has some momentum going after winning two of the last four races. Newgarden is a threat to win at any track he shows up to. 

Newgarden and Dixon are the only drivers in the Top 5 to have run an IndyCar race at Portland (Stephen V. King/INDYCAR)

He has a 5th and 10th in the last two races at Portland.  4.5 to 1 is good value, Newgarden qualified 2nd in 2018, and if he qualifies in the top three on Saturday odds are likely to go to around 3 to 1. 

Scott Dixon and Colton Herta both come in at +600 (6 to 1).  Dixon has opened up as one of the top two favorites for all of 2021, this is not good value for him, he has struggled to qualify up front and will get way better odds after qualifying.  As for Herta, he qualified on the pole here in 2019 and is a threat for pole again this year.  6 to 1 is pretty good value here.

Two other favorites that are worth a look are Will Power at +700 (7 to 1) and Pato O’Ward at +750 (7.5 to 1).  Power won here in 2019 and started on the pole in 2018.  A flat natural terrain road course plays to all of Power’s strengths.  Pato comes into this race as the points leader.  He also led a ten car test at Portland back in July.

Value

Rossi was the only driver to start and finish in the Top 10 in both the 2018 and 2019 Portland races (Joe SKibinski/INDYCAR)

Alexander Rossi shows good value at +1400 (14 to 1).  Rossi has found some speed in the last month and always seems to finish the season strong, he finished on the podium here in 2019 and his worst qualifying position is 8th.  

I also see solid value in Romain Grosjean at +1600 (16 to 1).  The Frenchman has been knocking on the door of his first win and Portland also seems to match his skill set well although it will be his first time at this particular track. 

Long Shots

Arrow McLaren SP driver Felix Rosenqvist could be a pleasant surprise this weekend. He tested with the team in the July test and finished 2nd here in 2019 after starting from the 5th position. Rosenqvist is +3000 (30 to 1) for this weekend and +700 (7 to 1 ) to finish on the podium.

Jack Harvey….. man he has been the long shot bet of the season.  We need it to pay off eventually.  Harvey tested here as well, he qualified 4th in 2019 before being collateral damage of a Andretti Autosport on track dispute.  This could be his last chance of getting a win for MSR before departing at the end of the season.  Jack is currently +5000 (50 to 1).

Rosenqvist led three laps during his Portland debut in 2019 (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

My Picks

Favorite: Pato O’Ward (+7.5 to 1 to win and +1.75 to 1 to podium)

Value: Alexander Rossi (14 to 1 to win and 3.5 to 1 to podium), Romain Grosjean 16 to 1 to win and 3.5 to 1 to podium

Long Shot: Felix Rosenqvist (30 to 1 to win and 7 to 1 to podium), Jack Harvey (50 to 1 to win and 12 to 1 to podium)

Odds from DraftKings (9/8) Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR

Indy Elite: Kraus dominate in Kansas triumph

By: Tim Doyle
August 31, 2021

Round #14 of the Coca Cola Bottling Company of Kokomo Indy Elite Series was run as the series raced for 150 laps under the hot midwestern sun at the Kansas Speedway for the Kansas 225.

It was Wilson Neto in qualifying grabbing pole position with a lap of 25.055 seconds over Joe Branch (25.111) and Philip Kraus (25.125) in 3rd. David Adams and Chris Stofer rounded out the top 5.

At the drop of the green, patience was in short supply as 7th starting Matt Hollibaugh jumped to the outside of Stofer forcing a 4 wide heading into Turn 1. Unfortunately for Andreas Eik, he was forced into the outside wall setting off a chain reaction which saw a total of eight cars involved, five of which unable to continue.

On the restart, Alexander Ball and Tony Showen would come together entering Turn 1 with the pair also retiring from the race.

When the green flag came back out it was Hollibaugh placing himself at the front of the field and showing his strength, coming from 5th on the restart and taking the lead from Kraus until the race’s third caution would fly for contact between Ray Kingsbury and Adam Dock coming off of Turn 2 on Lap 35.

The field would take the opportunity to pit for fresh fuel and tires.

The green would appear for another nine laps before another yellow would fly when 3rd place Andrew Wood clipped Stofer’s left rear tire sending him to the apron of the track before careening back onto the track, narrowly missing Charles Anti as he had to make an evasive move to miss him.

The top four would remain out with everyone else pitting for fuel and tires.

On the Lap 50 restart, Hollibaugh would lead over Stofer, Neto, Zegers and Branch in 5th place. Hallibaugh would fend off the challenges of Stofer and Kraus before relinquishing the lead when he made his green flag stop on Lap 77.

Stofer would give up 2nd place when he pitted two laps later leaving Kraus out front just ahead of Neto. Kraus would make his final his stop on Lap 88 and then was able to stretch out his lead over Neto and Stofer. Stofer would pit from 3rd place on Lap 115 with Neto one lap later. Kraus again would stretch his stop out further to Lap 121.

Once pit stops cycled through Kraus would have a 2+ second lead over Stofer and Neto with Hollibaugh now five seconds back in 4th and Branch in 5th.

Kraus would be able to stretch his lead out to 6.7 seconds by the time the checkered flag flew. Stofer would outduel Neto for 2nd place. Hallibaugh and Branch rounded out the Top 5.

Kraus led 80 of 150 laps, earning two additional points as the driver with the most laps led (Tim Doyle/iRacing.com)

Up Next

The Coca Cola Bottling Company of Kokomo Indy Elite Series takes a week off before returning September 14th for its final road course of the season at Laguna Seca.

Laps- 150

Cautions- 4

Lead Changes- 6

Fastest lap- Ray Kingsbury (25.012)

Cars on the lead lap- 6

Polesitter- Wilson Neto (25.055)

Header Image By Tim Doyle

Bommarito Automotive 500: Betting Preview

By: Joe Branch
August 20, 2021

Saturday night oval racing! This Saturday will be the fourth and final oval race of the season at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.

The Bommarito Auto Group returns with a single Saturday night race on NBCSN and is scheduled for an 8:40 EST green flag. The NTT Indycar Series ran two races at the egg-shaped oval in 2020 which were won by Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden.

This event will be a one day show for Indycar starting with the one and only practice at 1:15 EST on Saturday afternoon.

Qualifying then takes place at 5 PM EST. This leaves very little lead time for final odds to be posted before the start of the race.

Also something worth keeping an eye on, DraftKings has posted “Live” betting odds on Indycar for the last two races. In these instances you can often find some good value in watching how strategies might play out.

Favorites

Championship contenders and fellow Chevy driver’s Jose Newgarden and Pato O’ward come in as the odds-on favorites to win this Saturday. They sit at +600 (6 to 1).

These are pretty good odds for favorites as the opening line is usually around 4 to 1, which speaks to the unpredictable nature of this season.

Newgarden has won at Gateway twice in the past and has never qualified lower than 6th. So these odds are unlikely to improve as we get through Saturday’s sessions.

Newgarden became the first two-time winner at WWTR during Race 2 of last year’s doubleheader (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

O’Ward finished 2nd and 3rd in last year’s double header and the argument could be made that he and Arrow McLaren are even stronger this year. He will definitely be a factor on Saturday.

This is the first time this season that six time series champion Scott Dixon is not in the top two favorites by the oddsmakers. Though he is not far off as he comes into the weekend at +650 (6.5 to 1).

I have said in recent weeks that his odds have been too low based off of recent performance and there wasn’t a lot of value there, however this week, on the oval,

I believe 6.5 to 1 to be pretty good value for Dixon. Last season was his only win at Gateway, but he also has three other podium finishes in the last 5 years.

Value Picks

Marcus Ericsson shows some strong value this weekend coming in at +2000 (20 to 1). Ericsson has taken to the short ovals well in his career and has a ton of momentum in general right now.

He qualified 4th and finished 5th in the first race in 2020. He is currently 5th in points, which means he will qualify later in the queue this season, which is a definite advantage to those towards the bottom of the standings.

Ericsson leads all drivers in points on road and street courses, winning his first two races in 2021 (Belle Isle and Nashville) but has yet to record a podium finish on an oval in his IndyCar career (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Great value can also be found in the 2019 winner Takuma Sato at +2500 (25 to 1).

Takuma finished 2nd to Dixon in the first race last season and started on the pole in race two before falling backward after missing the strategy and ultimately finishing 9th.

Long Shots

Two drivers come into the final oval of the season at +3000 (30 to 1), and they are both in their respective cars that they only run the oval races with.

Conor Daly will be with Carlin Racing again this weekend and Tony Kanaan will be driving the 48 car for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Kanaan, who finished tenth at the Indianapolis 500, makes his first start since that race as he completes the oval schedule in the No. 48 Chip Ganassi Racing entry (James Black/INDYCAR)

Both drivers have shown pace here in the past and at 30 to 1, they show some good value for both of these fan favorites.

Ed Carpenter is also worth a look at +3500 (35 to 1).  Ed has struggled in these one off oval races in recent years and is definitely due for a result.  He finished  2nd here in 2019.

My Picks

Favorites: Scott Dixon (6.5 to 1 to win, 1.5 to 1 to podium)

Value: Marcus Ericsson 20 to 1 to win, 5 to 1 to podium and Takuma Sato (25 to 1 to win, 6.5 to 1 to podium)

Long Shots: Tony Kanaan 30 to 1 to win, 7.5 to 1 to podium and Conor Daly (30 to 1 to win, 7.5 to 1 to podium)

Odds from DraftKings (8/18) Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR

Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix: Betting Preview

By: Joe Branch
August 13, 2021

It feels like we’ve been here before…. A lot.  This weekend the NTT Indycar series will race on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  They will race on Saturday at 12:30 EST and will be followed by the Xfinity Series later that afternoon.  Qualifying for the NTT Indycar Series will take place Friday night at 7 PM EST.

This will mark the 5th race on the Indy Road course in the last 15 months so we have plenty of previous data and races to use to our advantage.  In the last four races at the world’s greatest race course, we have seen 4 different winners, and only Rinus Veekay and Alexander Rossi have been on the podium more than once.  

Favorites:

Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon both assume their position as the odds on favorite to start the weekend at +550 (5.5 to 1).  This has been common practice all season.  +550 is decent odds for JNew as he is likely to qualify well. 

Dixon jumped to second in points after a runner-up finish in Nashville, 42 points back of teammate Alex Palou 9Matt Fraver/INDYCAR)

Dixon however, did not make it out of Q1 in the spring race, unless Dixon happens to put it on pole tomorrow night, these odds should only get better on Saturday.=After the top two, there are four drivers under 10 to 1 odds.  Alex Palou and Colton Herta at +700 (7 to 1), Pato O’Ward at +800 (8 to 1) and Alexander Rossi at +950 (9.5 to 1). 

Out of these drivers the one that I see value in is the championship points leader Palou.  He qualified 4th in the spring and Ganassi Racing is carrying all of the momentum in the world right now.  

Value:

Romain Grosjean was on pole and led 44 laps in the spring, he starts off this weekend at +1200 (12 to 1)!  Grosjean led laps last week at Nashville and has been knocking on the door of his first win.  

Grosjean started on the pole, led 44 of 85 laps and finished second during the May 15 GMR Grand Prix, his first race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

The GMR Grand Prix winner Rinus Veekay comes in at +1400 (14 to 1).  Ed Carpenter Racing showed great pace with both of its cars in early May and should be very competitive this weekend as well. 

Another great value pick at +2000 (20 to 1) is Jack Harvey.  Jack has been very close to a win here and always seems to qualify well. 

The question is, has the team lost focus and all of its momentum.  Jack announced that he will be leaving the team at the end of the season and the results haven’t really been the same since Helio won the 500 in May.  The dynamic here is something to keep an eye on. 

Long Shots

There are some good long shot bets this weekend.  Last week’s winner Marcus Ericsson is +2800 (28 to 1).  Marcus has won two races this season, although both of them have been on street courses, he’s proved that the pace is there, and his confidence has to be at an all time high!

Rahal has earned a Top 10 finish in nine of 10 appearances on the IMS Road Course (Matt Fraver/INDYCAR)

Graham Rahal has always raced well here but just seems to struggle at qualifying.  Graham is +2500 (25 to 1) for Saturday.  In the spring race he had damage early, was way behind the field, and managed an incredible top 5.  If he could just start at the sharp end of the field, he will be a certain threat.

Saving the best for last, everyone’s favorite mullet, Conor Daly is +15000 (150 to 1)! Conor was in the Firestone Fast 6 in May and was hit from behind going into turn 1, ruining his day.  As mentioned above ECR was very strong all weekend for the GMR Grand Prix.  150 to 1 is definitely huge value and it will probably go down after the first practice.  

My Picks:

Favorite: Alex Palou 7 to 1 to win, 1.75 to 1 to podium

Value: Romain Grosjean 12 to 1 to win, 3 to 1 to podium

Rinus Veekay 14 to 1 to win, 3.5 to 1 to podium

Long Shots: Graham Rahal 25 to 1 to win, 6 to 1 to Podium

          Conor Daly 150 to 1 to win, 40 to 1 to Podium

Odds from Draft Kings as of 8/5 Header Image By Matt Fraver/INDYCAR

Big Machine Music City Grand Prix: Betting Preview

By: Joe Branch
August 6, 2021

The inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix! It’s been a while since we have had a brand new track to handicap.  This Sunday’s race will see the NTT Indycar Series go to the streets of Nashville for the first time ever.  The track will consist of two very long straight aways over a bridge and a body of water! From there drivers will navigate through downtown Nashville in one of the tightest street circuits we’ve seen.

The first practice session is at 4:10 EST on Friday.  All season long, apps such as Draft Kings and a few other sites that I’ve monitored, take the odds down once practice starts and reset them with a few changes based off of that practice. 

Although we do not have previous races to analyze, we do have three temporary street circuit races this season that we can use to find some good value this weekend.

Favorites

Josef Newgarden is the favorite coming into the weekend at +300 (3 to 1).  Newgarden has a lot of momentum as he comes off of a win at Mid Ohio.  The Nashville native was also in a position to win in the prior two weekends, leading all but 3 laps in Detroit, and then leading at Road America before a mechanical issue sent him to the back of the queue on the final lap.

This could very well be a weekend that the hometown hero dominates, that being said, 3 to 1 is about the lowest odds you’ll see going into a weekend.  If you want to bet Newgarden, you may want to wait until after qualifying and you may see better odds.  If Josef wins the pole, it will probably go to 2 to 1. 

Series veteran Scott Dixon is next on the favorites list at +500 (5 to 1). This is purely based on reputation. The Ice Man’s best finish on a street circuit this year is 5th at St. Pete.

Newgarden has collected three pole positions and a victory while leading 172 of a possible 205 laps in the last three races (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Two other favorites that show a little value are drivers that have both won on street circuits in 2021.  The Saint Petersburg winner Colton Herta is +700 (7 to 1) and Detroit winner Pato O’Ward is +800 (8 to 1). 

Based on previous trends this season, Herta will likely qualify well and his odds will probably go down throughout the weekend.  O’Ward tends to not qualify as well but race extremely well, so there could be a chance of gaining even more value on the McLaren driver later in the weekend.  

Value Picks

Marcus Ericsson stands out here at +1600 (16 to 1).  He won the first race at Detroit and Ganassi Racing just seems to be firing on all cylinders this season.  

Ericsson earned his first career IndyCar victory on the Belle Isle street circuit in Detroit (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

There is also some good value that can be found in Will Power.  He is +1000 (10 to 1) this weekend and it just feels like he is due to completely dominate a weekend at some point.  

Long Shots

Long shots are always the most fun to bet, that being said I can’t find any that I really love in this week’s lineup.  Let’s have some fun anyway! 

Romain Grosjean has been fighting his way towards the sharp end of the lineup all season.  Now we are going to a track where he’s not at a tracktime disadvantage, so maybe this +2500 (25 to 1) is worth taking a flyer on.  

Ryan Hunter-Reay is +5000 (50 to 1), he has several street circuit wins over his career and is definitely going to be driving with a chip on his shoulder as it appears that he is on the outside looking in for 2022 with Andretti Autosport.

Grosjean has impressed during his debut IndyCar season, including a pole on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in May. (Matt Fraver/INDYCAR).

Lastly, we’ve all been waiting for Jack Harvey to get his first win.  He hasn’t been stellar on street courses though but he is +7000 (70 to 1) for Sunday.

Joe’s Picks

Favorites:

Colton Herta: 7 to 1 to win

Value:

Will Power: 10 to 1 to win

Marcus Ericsson: 16 to 1 to win

Long Shots:

Romain Grosjean: 25 to 1 to win

Ryan Hunter-Reay 50 to 1 to win

Odds from Draft Kings as of 8/5 Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR

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