Think big with INDYCAR's return to streets this weekend at Belle Isle


(Sign up for the #INDYCAR Fantasy Challenge driven by Firestone and make your driver selections for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader here.)

The 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil was another epic race with plenty of great racing. Takuma Sato adds his name to the legacy and his face to the Borg-Warner Trophy, but it was Andretti’s six-car team that was the big winner of the month.

Can the Andretti squad – back to four cars now – carry this forward or will Team Penske roar back this weekend at Belle Isle?

The dual races in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix make for interesting strategy in the #INDYCAR Fantasy Challenge driven by Firestone. It gives bad luck a second chance, but the fact is that you need points in both races, so that’s a mitigating strategy when someone crashes out on Day 1, not for your team.

Of course, the biggest key for fantasy this week is showing up. Make your picks for Race 1 now (or at least before the green flag Saturday afternoon), but make sure you get your picks in for Race 2 as well. Too many bad players will get distracted – don’t let that be you.

We have to look hard at the Andretti cars, even heading back onto a temporary street course. Luckily for us, the Andretti foursome is all fairly priced. Sato is the highest ($23), but the Indy winner has a lot of distractions so I’ll stay away from him. Instead, I’ll go with Ryan Hunter-Reay ($23) for his consistency and the need to make up championship points after an early departure from the Indy 500. Marco Andretti is another solid pick at $17, so give me that Andretti pair.

All of Team Penske’s four drivers are at $30 or above, so I’ll take the “cheap” option of Helio Castroneves at $30. His second-place finish at Indy will have him hungry and he is a three-time winner at Belle Isle (as well as in the Indy 500).

To round out my Belle Isle team, I’ll go with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan ($24). He’s another “big team” driver and, while it’s amazing Scott Dixon ($29) walked away from that crash at Indy, I’m just not ready to pick him for this weekend. If he puts up a good qualification, you can make your last-minute change to Dixon and I won’t argue a bit.

There’s a major advantage for the multi-car teams, especially the well-funded ones, at a dual event like this. They can rebuild the car in case of accident or engine issues with a minimum of fuss while staying competitive. They also get the benefit of a larger sample size for setup. That’s not to say one of the other teams can’t win, but in fantasy terms, there’s just no need to go far down the chart this week.

That’s my team for Race 1: Hunter-Reay, Andretti, Castroneves and Kanaan. Race 2 likely won’t be much different. I’ll be sticking with the bigger teams at Belle Isle. 

From the fans