Luck shouldn't be factor in making Road America picks


(Sign up for the #INDYCAR Fantasy Challenge driven by Firestone and make your driver selections for the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America here.)

The Texas race was fun to watch, but tough on #INDYCAR Fantasy Challenge driven by Firestone players.

The downside of a yellow-filled, cracked-carbon-fiber race is that luck plays far too high a role in the outcome. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time, rather than driver skill and team focus, isn’t how the game should be decided.

Shifting to the beautiful road course in Wisconsin for the KOHLER Grand Prix will change all that. Road America is quick and technical, but tends to be a race that rewards the car/driver combo that puts everything together early. It also rewards qualifying well, so this is one race where it behooves you to wait until the last minute before Sunday’s green flag to lock in your driver lineup.

I don’t have that luxury — darn deadlines! — so I’m using the key tenets of fantasy to help me select my team: consistency and opportunity. As always, almost any car could win, but it tends to even out over a fantasy team and that’s what scores points.

My first driver is, once again, Josef Newgarden. His No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevy has been the most consistent on the team and he can definitely win on road courses. At $27, he’s also five dollars cheaper than Will Power (who I also like). I just can’t pull the trigger on Simon Pagenaud, who has been a non-factor for much of the season, or Helio Castroneves this week.

Instead, I’ll shift over to another big team, Andretti Autosport. I think, being put in the wall early at Texas, Alexander Rossi will be looking to make some points back in Wisconsin. He’s had good power and certainly can handle the technical parts of the road course. He’s also a great value at $23.

I’m also playing the narrative a bit this week with Tony Kanaan ($25). Kanaan took a lot of criticism coming out of Texas, so I expect him to show that he can win clean. The Chip Ganassi Racing cars have been strong and Kanaan was strong last year at Road America, so I like his value just a bit more than the $32 you’d have to spend for teammate Scott Dixon.

My final pick reflects Texas’ results as well. The smaller teams, especially Dale Coyne Racing, which took a lot of damage in Fort Worth, might have a harder time in between races, making sure everything is rebuilt and ready. Because qualifying is so important on this track, I think coming off the trailer ready is very important. That puts me on another Ganassi driver, Max Chilton ($18).

I’m taking Chilton, even with enough money on the table to take James Hinchcliffe ($25) or Ryan Hunter-Reay ($24), because of the Ganassi machine. Chilton has been very racy all year on his own, but I expect this will be another good finish for him.

That’s my team: Newgarden, Rossi, Kanaan and Chilton. Enjoy Wisconsin and don’t eat too much cheese!

From the fans