Grosjean leads First Practice

By: Spencer Neff
February 25, 2022

Practice 1 Results

Friday afternoon, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES took to the track for opening practice in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. After 45 minutes on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street course in Florida, it was Romain Grosjean leading the way.

The second-year driver posted a best lap of 1m01.0525 (106.138 mph) as he and teammate Colton Herta led a 1-2 for Andretti Autosport. The 2021 pole and race winner was .1042 of a second back of his new stablemate.

Will Power and Team Penske led the Chevrolet-powered cars, sliding in third behind the Honda duo. Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports’ David Malukas topped the six drivers making their first NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut. Malukas finished 10th on the afternoon.

During today’s on-track session, only a brief red flag was brought out as a brake rotor on Jimmie Johnson’s Chip Ganassi Racing entry left him off track near Turn 10. He would be docked five minutes of running time for causing the stoppage.

As for Johnson’s teammate, Alex Palou began his championship defense in 17th on the first practice sheet. With the first race weekend session of 2022 in the books, here is a look at the rest of the weekend’s on-track schedule. All times listed are local track times (Eastern). Stay with IndyCar1909.com for all the latest news and more.

Saturday, Feb. 26

9-9:45 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, Peacock Premium

12:30-1:45 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock Premium (Live)

Sunday, Feb. 27

8:45-9:15 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock Premium

Noon – NBC Sports on air

12:23 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”

12:30 p.m. – Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding (100 laps / 181 miles), NBC, Telemundo and Peacock Premium (Live)

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Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg: Weekend Preview

By: Spencer Neff
February 25, 2022

The five-month offseason is a thing of the past and today, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES embarks on its first of 16 rounds to make up its 2022 championship.

On Sunday, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will once again kick off the season. Ahead of this weekend’s on-track action, here’s a look at some of the big stories to watch as we kick off the season.

Headlines

After a breakout season that resulted in three wins and his first championship, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou heads into his third season looking to become the first driver since Dario Franchitti (2009-2011) to win back-to-back championships.

Palou joined Chip Ganassi Racing in 2021 and brought them a 15th championship (James Black/INDYCAR)

The Barcelona, Spain native can also match Franchitti’s mark of being the last defending champion to open his title defense with a season-opening win. In 2011, the CGR driver did just that in a win at St. Petersburg.

Palou will have 25 drivers to beat out this weekend, including 2021 St. Petersburg winner Colton Herta. Last season, Herta earned three victories, including at the last two races (Laguna Seca and Long Beach).

If the Andretti Autosport driver can win this weekend, he’d continue a streak that dates back to Juan Pablo Montoya in 2015-2016. Since then, Sébastien Bourdais (2017-18) and Josef Newgarden (2019-20) have also notched victories at the event in consecutive years.

Herta earned a dominant victory in 2021, leading 97 of 100 laps (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Also of note for this race and this season at large is the rookie class. In this year’s group of first-year drivers include 2021 Indy Lights Champion Kyle Kirkwood (A.J. Foyt Racing), who is the only driver to win championships on all three rungs of the Road to Indy ladder (Indy Lights, Indy Pro 2000 (2019) and USF2000 (2018).

Christian Lundgaard, who qualified fourth in his debut on the IMS Road Course in August, returns for a full-season with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

After running the final three races of 2021, Callum Ilott will contest the 2022 season with Juncos Hollinger Racing. Making their debut this weekend along with Kirkwood at Foyt will be Tatiana Calderón, who brings previous experience from a number of international racing series from Pro Mazda (now Indy Pro 2000) to FIA WEC (World Endurance Championship).

Kirkwood takes over the famed No. 14 in 2022 (Chris Jones/Penske Entertainment)

Devlin DeFrancesco, who teamed with Herta and Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward alongside Eric Lux to win the LMP2 class in the Rolex 24 last month at Daytona International Speedway, moves up to Andretti Autosport. Also moving on from Indy Lights is 2021 runner-up David Malukas, who won seven races. This year, Malukas and HMD Motorsports join Dale Coyne Racing in the No. 18.

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Fast Facts

Pit Assignments 

Spotter Guide

Race weekend: Friday, Feb. 25 – Sunday, Feb. 27
Track: Streets of St. Petersburg, 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit (clockwise) through downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, including a runway of Albert Whitted Airport

Race distance: 100 laps / 180 miles (NTT INDYCAR SERIES) | 60 minute timed race (Indy Lights)

Push-to-pass parameters (NTT INDYCAR SERIES): 150 seconds of total time with a maximum single duration of 15 seconds. The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race

Firestone tire allotment (NTT INDYCAR SERIES): Six sets primary, four sets alternate. One additional set is available to rookie drivers for use in the Friday afternoon practice session

Twitter: @GPSTPETE, @INDYCAR, @IndyLights #FirestoneGP, #INDYCAR Event website: http://www.gpstpete.com
INDYCAR website: http://www.indycar.com
2021 race winner: Colton Herta, 1:51:51.4115, 96.552 mph

2021 NTT P1 Award winner: Colton Herta, 1:00.3210, 107.425 mph
Qualifying lap record: Jordan King, 1:00.0476; 107.914 mph, March 10, 2018 (set in Round 1

of qualifying)

NBC Sports telecast: Race, noon ET Sunday, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee and Dave Burns are the pit reporters. Spanish-language telecast will be available on Telemundo.

Peacock Premium Live Streaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying and Indy Lights races will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Nick Yeoman, Jake Query and Michael Young are the turn announcers. Ryan Myrehn and Alex Wollf are the pit reporters The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race and all NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying sessions air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 160, racecontrol.indycar.com and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA. All Indy Lights practice and qualifying sessions and races are available on racecontrol.indycar.com, the INDYCAR App and SiriusXM 160.

At-track schedule (All Times Local/Eastern Time):

Friday, Feb. 25

10:05-10:50 a.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires practice

3:40-4:25 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, Peacock Premium

1:40-2:10 p.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires qualifying

5:40-6:10 p.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires practice

Saturday, Feb. 26

9-9:45 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, Peacock Premium

12:30-1:45 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock Premium (Live)

Sunday, Feb. 27

8:45-9:15 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock Premium

9:30 a.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (60 minutes), Peacock Premium (Live)

Noon – NBC Sports on air

12:23 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”

12:30 p.m. – Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding (100 laps / 181 miles), NBC, Telemundo and Peacock Premium (Live)

Header Image and Fast Facts By INDYCAR

Rewind: 2013 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

By: Spencer Neff
February 24, 2022

The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season is upon us. For the first time since 2019, the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course in St. Petersburg, Florida returns as the season opener, beginning the 16-round season this Sunday.

Ahead of Sunday’s race, the 19th held on the popular Florida circuit and the 12th time it will be the season opener, IndyCar1909 turns back the clock for the latest edition of Rewind. Today, we’ll look back at the 2013 race.

Hinchcliffe scores long-awaited first win

March 24, 2013 represented the beginning of the 19-race 2013 IZOD INDYCAR SERIES calendar and an opportunity for the 25 drivers on the grid to prove something.

After beating Takuma Sato (making his debut for A.J. Foyt Racing), Team Penske’s Will Power earned his fourth consecutive pole on the temporary course. Looking to begin his journey for a championship that eluded him the season finale each of the prior three years, Power took off and led the opening 26 laps.

Power continued his qualifying dominance, earning his 30th career pole (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

On Lap 20, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti brought out the first yellow of the day, as the 2011 race winner smacked the wall in Turn 8, ending his day. As the caution flag was brought out, the initial set of pit stops began but Power held the lead.

On Lap 27, his teammate Helio Castroneves made his past for the lead. The defending race winner set his sights on a fourth win. Further back in the field, the carnage continued as JR Hildebrand and Sebastian Saavedra collided in Turn 10. With Hildebrand unable to continue without assistance, the second caution flag of the day was out.

After the Lap 33 restart, Power was unable to reciprocate Castroneves’ pass on him and James Hinchcliffe swept past for second. A Lap 45 debris caution was extended through Lap 53 after Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden stalled with clutch issues. Following Dreyer and Reinbold Racing’s Oriol Servia spending 16 laps at the front while on a different pit strategy from the leaders.

With 49 laps to go, Castroneves made his way to the lead again while clutch issues derailed Servia’s run. Three laps later, throttle issues put a damper on the beginning of Ryan Hunter-Reay’s championship defense.

Hinchcliffe kept Castroneves at bay during the final 26 laps (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

After becoming the first driver to utilize the No. 1 since reunification (while keeping the 28 he utilized in tribute of his mother’s death from cancer), the Andretti Autosport driver was sidelined after completing 79 of 110 scheduled laps.

With 37 laps to go, Saavedra collided with the tire barrier in Turn 10, forcing the fourth and last caution of the afternoon. Under the caution, Hildebrand drove over the back of Power’s car, ending his day while damaging Power’s right-rear. Power continued on despite veering off track late in the race but finished 16th, three laps down.

As Castroneves had done to Power, Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe would do to him on the Lap 85 restart, outbraving and passing him in Turn 1.

From there, the race stayed green and the Oakville, Ontario, Canada native never looked back, earning his first career win after finishing 1.098 seconds ahead of Castroneves. For the outgoing driver in his third season, the victory proved to be monumental for a variety of reasons.

In his second season driving what previously was slated to be Dan Wheldon’s 2012 ride before his fatal accident at Las Vegas on October 16, 2011.

Hichcliffe is joined by Castroneves and Andretti on the podium (John Cote/INDYCAR)

On a day when his widow Susie waved the green flag, the 2005 race winner’s team earned the victory in his adopted hometown. Joining Hinchcliffe and Castroneves on the podium would be Marco Andretti, giving Chevrolet their third podium sweep in their 16th race back and their first on a road or street course since their return the previous season.

Analysis

Hinchcliffe’s victory helped cement his standing as he began his third season of IndyCar. Later in the year, he’d add wins at São Paulo and Iowa. This season, the six-time race winner steps away from the cockpit and will join the NBC Sports booth as analyst with Townsend Bell and lap-by-lap anchor Leigh Diffey.

Castroneves will begin his first full-time season outside of Penske since 1999 (Hogan Racing). The Meyer Shank Racing driver will pilot the 06, which he took to his record-tying fourthIndianapolis 500 in May. Now, he will be joined by Simon Pagenaud, who previously teamed with Castroneves at Penske from 2015-2020.

After rebounding from a disappointing start to 2013, Power won three of the last five races but fell short of the championship by 79 points, earning a fourth-place finish.

Hinchcliffe enjoys the celebration of his first INDYCAR win (Shawn Gritzmacher/INDYCAR)

In 2014, the Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia native took a dominating win at St. Petersburg as a springboard to his first title.

It also made him the first driver since Cristiano da Matta (2001-2002) to win the final two races of a season and the season opener the next year. Power also can extend his track record with a ninth pole this weekend (he did not start due to a concussion 2016 so his pole there is not credited to him).

If Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta wins this weekend, he would join Power, da Matta, Gordon Johncock (1977-78) and Bill Cummings (1933-34) as the only drivers to accomplish that.

Header Image By Shawn Gritzmacher/INDYCAR

Catalyst 317 Returns as Triple Crown Sponsor

By: Joe Branch
December 15, 2021

Catalyst 317 is set to return as the title sponsor of the 2022 Indy Elite Series Triple Crown. The Catalyst 317 Triple Crown will consist of three races.

Any IES driver who can win all 3 races of the Triple Crown would win a cash bonus.  In 2021, the Catalyst 317 Triple Crown saw three unique winners for each race. Drivers will hope to make history in 2022 as the first ever triple crown winner.  

Each Catalyst 317 Triple Crown race in 2022 will have its own unique story.  Leg one on January 2nd will be from the historic Michigan International Speedway.  The race will be titled the Catalyst 317 at MIS as the race will be 317 miles in length!  

This will be the fourth time that the IES has visited the famed two mile oval.  It has seen three unique winners including former series champions Adam Blocker and Philip Kraus.  

Leg two of the Catalyst 317 Triple Crown will take place at Texas Motor Speedway on March 13th. This race will be titled The Texas 250 Presented by Catalyst 317.   This will be the 6th time that the IES has visited TMS.  Oval specialist Christopher Demeritt has owned the venue by winning there in three out of five races.  

Finally on April 24th, the 7th Annual Indianapolis 500 Presented by Catalyst 317 will round out the 2022 season and Triple Crown.  The crown jewel of every Indy Elite Season.  

33 drivers will line up to try and become an Indy 500 champion.  In the first six iterations of this historic race, the IES has yet to see a two time champion.  Will this be the year? Or will we crown our 7th Indy 500 winner?!?

“It is exciting to have Catalyst 317 back as the sponsor of the Indy Elite Series Triple Crown,” exclaimed driver Tanner Watkins.

Watkins earned a victory at the Indy Elite Series’ Indianapolis 500 event on April 11 of this past season.

“Their investment in sim racing doesn’t go unnoticed, and the work Catalyst 317 does in promoting the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and their clients is on the cutting edge of motorsports creative and PR.  The Indy Elite Series is fortunate to be associated with a brand such as theirs.”

Catalyst 317, based in Indianapolis, Ind., is a creative agency that specializes in video production and digital content and has worked with several noteworthy clients in the motorsports industry, including Andretti Autosport, Haas F1, Tony Kanaan and Accelerating Change – a women’s-empowerment initiative co-founded by IMSA driver Christina Nielsen.

For more information on the company, visit their website.

To view Catalyst 317’s content be sure to like and follow their digital media channels

Be sure to like and follow Catalyst317 on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

All races of the 2022 season will be broadcasted live on SYMTV!

Header Image By Catalyst317

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).  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.  

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

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

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

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