2022 Writers’ Roundtable, Vol. 29: Gallagher GP winner?

Today’s question: Question in two parts this week! Who will win the Gallagher Grand Prix Saturday (noon ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and which driver will compete in the Verizon 200 race in the Brickyard NASCAR Cup Series Sunday at IMS t would you like to see also participate in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race on Saturday?

Curt Cavin: Kudos to Sribhen, who correctly picked Josef Newgarden and Pato O’Ward as the Iowa Speedway race winners, but we all know it was a Newgarden sweep that didn’t happen. Also, this week’s easy pick is Will Power, who leads all NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers with five wins (and five poles) at the IMS road course. Power also finished third at the GMR Grand Prix on May 14, and Team Penske won eight of the twelve races contested at that circuit. But picking drivers from Roger Penske’s organization every week is getting tiring, so this week I’m going to go off script by picking a winner from the first series. Romain Grosjean was on the podium twice at the IMS road circuit last year, and although he didn’t have the best test at the GMR Grand Prix in the wet and finished 17th, he deserves the win. His teammate, Colton Herta, is the last winner of the circuit. As for the Cup driver I’d like to see race in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Chase Elliott would be interesting considering seven of his 17 Cup wins have been on road courses. But you can’t go wrong with Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson or Austin Cindric.

Arni Sribhen: Can you compare last week’s prediction moment for the Iowa winners to a blind squirrel finding a nut? Remember guys, even a broken watch is right twice a day. Will Power is the obvious choice, but even he can’t remember winning this race a year ago, as all of his IMS race wins have come back-to-back. So here is a No Will option to cover. Take Alexander Rossi. Rossi has had an average year so far, but his average result in his last five outings at the IMS road course is 5.4. It is this weekend that the #27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda will finally find its way to victory. Rossi has been on the podium twice at the two 2020 Harvest Grands Prix and finished fourth at the 2021 Gallagher Grand Prix, showing that he is very good at going back and forth on circuits. As for a Cup driver I’d like to see race in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, I’d vote for Ross Chastain. Sure, he’s a bit aggressive sometimes, but he likes to smash watermelons. It’s also very good on road courses and wouldn’t be afraid to push an INDYCAR SERIES car around the track without the power steering. Big thanks to our old friends AJ Allmendinger and Cody Ware, because an INDYCAR guy is still an INDYCAR guy.

Paul Kelly: First things first: Shout out to Arni for her perfect picks last week. Is this man that accurate with Powerball numbers? OK, he predicted Josef Newgarden to win on Sunday and Pato O’Ward on Saturday, and the opposite happened, but who’s counting? not me impressive Like Curt and Arni said, it’s too easy to pick Will Power on the IMS road course. He has five wins in 12 starts on this circuit, a ridiculous 42% win rate. But I’m looking for a surprise on Saturday, so I choose Rinus VeeKay. The Dutchman scored his only career NTT INDYCAR SERIES win at this circuit at the May 2021 GMR Grand Prix for Ed Carpenter Racing, and also finished third and fifth here. As for the NASCAR driver I’d like to see run in an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car and pull double duty this weekend, it’s Austin Cindric, in a Team Penske car. Cindric has a long history at this circuit, as his father has driven the INDYCAR SERIES for Team Penske since 1999, and Austin won the Pennzoil 150 race in the Brickyard NASCAR Xfinity Series last year. While this win was an eye-opener, Cindric has been a very good road racer for a long time. He has competed in IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge and Pirelli World Challenge sports car series, competed in the Bathurst 12 Hours and was a Porsche North American Junior Academy driver. I think he would blow people away with his skills driving an INDYCAR series car on the IMS road course.

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