Once again, the #INDYCAR Fantasy Challenge driven by Firestone is making the driver selection process for the Indianapolis 500 special.
Fantasy players have a $500 salary cap at their disposal and can choose 10 drivers from among the 33 competitors for their team. Don’t forget to choose your team at fantasy.indycar.com before the green flag waves for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” at approximately noon ET Sunday.
With so many drivers on offer, here a few basic tenets that I’ve used to choose my squad:
1) Don’t put all your eggs in one manufacturer basket. Drivers powered by the Chevrolet twin-turbocharged, direct-injection V-6 engines dominated qualifying, but when looking at the time sheets during practice involving race running, the Honda-propelled cars look far more competitive.
2) Track position is going to be VERY important. The means drivers starting in the front half of the field on teams with consistently good pit stops should be at the top of your selection list.
3) A single practice timesheet can’t tell you a lot, but consistency across all practice days is a pattern wise to follow. Seven different drivers led the nine practice sessions, but a few drivers were consistently in the top 10. Those are the drivers where you should focus your attention.
4) With tough-to-handle race cars and conditions, experience is the most valuable currency a driver can bring to the table.
5) Fifteen of the 18 Indianapolis 500 winners since the year 2000 have come from the big three teams: Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. Your team should be built on a foundation of pilots from that trio.
With those five points in mind, my team for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil is: Marco Andretti ($45), Sebastien Bourdais, ($65), Helio Castroneves ($60), Scott Dixon ($60), Tony Kanaan ($45), Carlos Munoz ($30), Simon Pagenaud ($60), Spencer Pigot ($25), Will Power ($65) and Oriol Servia ($25). That totals $480, so is well under the cap.
It also includes six drivers from the big three teams, three past Indy 500 winners and six drivers starting from the first three rows. Make your selections and see how we fare on Sunday. Good luck!