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RaceDayScore IndyCar: Honda Indy Toronto

C.J. Radune

Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the 2015 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

Honda Indy Toronto

Location: Toronto, Ontario
Course: Exhibition Place
Format: 1.75-mile street course
Laps: 85

Race Preview

Josef Newgarden comes to Toronto this week as the defending race winner and also the most recent winner in the series. He recovered well from broken bones suffered at Texas Motor Speedway and had a dominating performance in Iowa. The street course around Exhibition Place presents a different challenge, though. The bumpy circuit has been part of the IndyCar landscape since 1986. In 2013 and 2014 the series ran two races on the weekend, but the series has reverted back to the traditional Sunday event last year. Scott Dixon is the winningest active driver at the circuit with two victories, and he drove to a third-place finish in Iowa. However, Penske Racing remains the team to beat with Will Power winning two of the last four races and the team scoring six of 10 wins so far this season.

Key Stats at Toronto (since 2009)

Number of previous races: 9
Winners from pole: 3
Winners from top-5 starters: 6
Winners from top-10 starters: 7
Lowest starting position to win: 11
Fastest race: 95.787 mph

Previous Winners at Toronto (since 2009)

2015 - Josef Newgarden
2014 race 2 - Mike Conway
2014 race 1 - Sebastien Bourdais
2013 race 2 - Scott Dixon
2013 race 1 - Scott Dixon
2012 - Ryan Hunter-Reay
2011 - Dario Franchitti
2010 - Will Power
2009 - Dario Franchitti

Exhibition place is an 11-turn street course. It’s the second-longest running street race on the IndyCar calendar behind Long Beach and has a history with the series that dates back to 1986. The race is 85 laps long and tends to favor cars that start up front. The last two races were won by cars starting from the 11th position, but those were two of just three races won by cars starting outside of the top 10 in the circuit’s history in CART and IndyCar. Teams will need track position to perform well, and starting up front is a way to guarantee that. Penske cars have started from pole in nine of the 10 races so far this season, so that stable of drivers presents fantasy owners an easy place to find favorites for this Sunday.

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

Tier 1 Values

Simon Pagenaud - $11,800
Scott Dixon - $11,400
Will Power - $11,300

Tier 2 Values

Juan Pablo Montoya - $10,800
Graham Rahal - $10,600
Ryan Hunter-Reay - $10,300

Tier 3 Values

Sebastien Bourdais - $9,900
James Hinchcliffe - $9,100
Takuma Sato - $9,100

Long-Shot Values

Jack Hawksworth - $8,200
Conor Daly - $8,100
Max Chilton - $7,400

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

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

Simon Pagenaud - $11,800
Helio Castroneves - $11,000
Sebastien Bourdais - $9,900
James Hinchcliffe - $9,100
Conor Daly - $8,200

Being back on a street course means that the Penske Racing drivers will rise to the top of the list for fantasy players again. Pagenaud leads this week’s lower-risk lineup due to his brilliance on these circuits in 2016. He won at Long Beach earlier this season and started from pole in both Detroit races. Castroneves got off to a relatively slow start compared with his teammates, but is in high gear now. He has two top-five finishes in the last four races and finished third in Toronto last season after leading 15 laps. Bourdais won at Toronto in 2014 and hasn’t finished worse than ninth there since 2012. Fantasy players would be wise not to underestimate the boost of a hometown crowd, and Hinchcliffe will enjoy that lift this week. Next to winning the Indy 500, Toronto may be the biggest jewel for him to capture. He has a best finish of eighth at the track in 2013 and 2014. After two poor races it’s time for Daly to get back in the saddle. He finished sixth and second in the two Detroit races and finished 12th in Toronto last season. He could be a huge bargain this week.

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

Scott Dixon - $11,400
Juan Pablo Montoya - $10,800
Graham Rahal - $10,600
Takuma Sato - $9,100
Mikhail Aleshin - $8,000

Dixon leads the higher-risk lineup by virtue of two Toronto wins and being the non-Penske driver making the biggest impact this season. He hasn’t finished lower than eighth in Toronto since 2013 and will be anxious to use this weekend to restart his championship bid. Montoya won the street race in St. Petersburg to start the season and led 13 laps before finishing third in the first Detroit race. Two top-10 finishes in the last three Toronto races make Rahal a good selection, plus he finished third at Road America and fourth in the first Detroit race. Toronto has given Sato back-to-back top-10 finishes with a fifth in the second race in 2014 and a 10th-place finish last season. He can be accident prone at the circuit, though. Rounding out the lineup is Aleshin. He picked up his second top-five of the season last week in Iowa while his first came on the streets of St. Petersburg. He’s an excellent lower-tier choice for races like Toronto.

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