RaceDayScore IndyCar: Indianapolis 500

RaceDayScore IndyCar: Indianapolis 500

This article is part of our RaceDayScore IndyCar series.

Indianapolis 500

Location: Speedway, Ind.
Course: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Format: 2.5-mile oval
Laps: 200

Race Preview

Simon Pagenaud has been the driver to beat in 2016. He not only won the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, but that latest win extended his run of never failing to finish lower than second so far this season. While Penske Racing and their Chevrolet power plants certainly have the edge on the competition so far, the 500 miles of Indianapolis present an entirely different challenge. Honda has shown well in early practices, and anything can happen on Race Day given the unpredictable nature of this race. While the big teams will certainly be heavy favorites heading into the start on Sunday, Indianapolis can produce unexpected results and break the favorites' hearts. It will be important that drivers and teams remain mistake-free through all 200 laps if they want to have a chance of winning one of racing's biggest prizes.

Key Stats at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Number of previous races: 99
Winners from pole: 20
Winners from top-5 starters: 55
Winners from top-10 starters: 70
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 4
Fastest race: 187.433 mph

Last 10 Indy 500 Winners

2015 - Juan Pablo Montoya
2014 - Ryan Hunter-Reay
2013 - Tony Kanaan
2012 - Dario Franchitti
2011 - Dan Wheldon
2010 - Dario Franchitti
2009 - Helio Castroneves
2008 - Scott Dixon
2007 - Dario Franchitti
2006 - Sam Hornish Jr.

The Brickyard is a 2.5-mile oval unlike any other on the calendar. While its four 90-degree turns look identical, the shifting wind and weather actually makes each one unique. Drivers in qualifying aim to keep their throttles open throughout the entire four-lap run, but will turn things back for the race to ensure comfortably predictable handling in traffic. The narrow racing line can present challenges in passing, and a driver getting even slightly out of the groove will be punished with loss of grip, potentially even causing contact with the outside wall. Drivers need to be inch perfect on this historic track, and so do their teams. The number of stops required throughout 500 miles of racing offers more opportunity for mistakes than any other race on the circuit. An Indy 500 can be won or lost in the pits as well as on the track.

RACE DAY SCORE VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

Tier 1 Values

Simon Pagenaud - $13,300
Scott Dixon - $13,100
Juan Pablo Montoya - $13,000

Tier 2 Values

Helio Castroneves - $12,600
Graham Rahal - $12,400
Will Power - $11,900
Ryan Hunter-Reay - $11,700

Tier 3 Values

Sebastien Bourdais - $11,000
Takuma Sato - $10,700
James Hinchcliffe - $9,400

Long-Shot Values

Ed Carpenter - $8,100
Oriol Servia - $7,900
Gabby Chaves - $7,700

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Cash Game Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Juan Pablo Montoya - $13,000
Helio Castroneves - $12,600
Oriol Servia - $7,900
Gabby Chaves - $7,700
Alex Tagliani - $7,800

Going with the driver who has won two Indy 500s in three tries and currently stands third in the championship is somewhat of a no-brainer for the lower-risk lineup option for this 100th running of the Indy 500. Montoya's lowest finish in this race was fifth, and he stands a very strong chance of fighting for the win again this weekend. Next in line is three-time Indy 500 champion Castroneves. The Penske Racing driver has been concerned by his pace so far this month, but Penske has the resources to make everything perfect by race day. Castroneves should be a threat no matter how pessimistic he tries to sound. Servia is another veteran selection who should serve fantasy players extremely well in this week's race. The part-time driver has four Indy finishes of 11th or better in his last five races at the Brickyard. Chaves finished 17th in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis two weeks ago and 16th in his rookie Indy 500 last year. Finally, Tagliani will be starting 33rd of 33 cars this Sunday, giving the veteran a tremendous opportunity to bag fantasy points due to finish differential. He is a consistent top-20 driver in the Indy 500 and could be contention to win if the cards fall his direction on Sunday.

Higher-Risk Tournament Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Scott Dixon - $13,100
Will Power - $11,900
James Hinchcliffe - $9,400
Townsend Bell - $7,700
Buddy Lazier - $7,500

The higher-risk lineup puts a bit more emphasis on current-month pace at the Brickyard. Dixon is the exception but is a perennial favorite at the track. He is the only non-Penske winner so far this season and will start 13th on Sunday. Power isn't known as the best oval racer, but his time to triumph at Indy is now. He was runner-up in last year's 500 and has consecutive top-10 finishes at the track. He could be dangerous on Sunday. The pole-sitter for the race is a great story, and Hinchcliffe is currently eighth in the championship. If he can translate qualifying to race pace he could be in store for a big day. Bell is another part-time driver, but he was one of the fastest nine cars in qualifying and has three top-10s in his last nine Indy 500s. The final choice in the option is 1996 Indy 500 winner Lazier. Buddy will start on the last row, but his veteran instincts will help him move forward to offer fantasy players valuable finish differential points. His veteran experience could help temper the youthful exuberance from others in the field.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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