Today’s question: Who will win the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst this Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park (1 p.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network)?
Curt Cavin: After three consecutive Team Penske race wins to open the season, doesn’t it have to be a different team winning this week? And isn’t it time for Chip Ganassi Racing, which won six races last year between three drivers, to return to victory lane? Above all else, isn’t it time Scott Dixon won a race at Barber? He has nine podium finishes there in 11 races, with six seconds and three thirds (he was third last year). So, I’ll take Dixon to extend his record number of consecutive winning seasons to 18, and if it’s not him taking the checkered flag, it will be Alex Palou or Marcus Ericsson. Those Ganassi drivers had a combined average finish of 4.0 in this event last year, with Palou winning.
Zach Horrall: I’m sticking with the Team Penske bandwagon here, but not for Josef Newgarden. The organization’s performance is unmatched right now, and I think their only winless driver gets his first win of the season: Will Power. The 2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion has been the most consistent driver this season with a 3.6 average finish in three races so far, but he’s been overshadowed by his race-winning teammates Scott McLaughlin and Newgarden. Plus, Power is no slouch at Barber. He finished second in last year’s race, but let’s not forget that from 2010-16, Power scored two wins and never finished outside the top five.
Paul Kelly: OK, I’m calling my shot: This is the race in which a driver not named Colton Herta will win for Andretti Autosport for the first time since Alexander Rossi took the checkered flag in 2019 at Road America. But Rossi or Devlin DeFrancesco won’t win at Barber. Instead, Romain Grosjean will start his first full Month of May with a victory Sunday, May 1 on the rolling road course in Birmingham, Alabama. Grosjean finished second to Josef Newgarden at Long Beach after starting sixth in a very solid performance in the No. 28 DHL Honda. He always has looked more at home on natural terrain road courses like Barber, so I expect to see him take the final step to the top of the podium after three runner-up finishes so far in his young NTT INDYCAR SERIES career. A win only will raise anticipation for Grosjean during the Month of May at Indianapolis, as he won the NTT P1 Award and finished second to Rinus VeeKay in the GMR Grand Prix last May on the IMS road course. He’s also racing in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for the first time May 29.