Photo Credit: Autosport
Who Will Win the Championship?
Austin: Alexander Rossi. Rossi has absolutely no fear and a supreme focus on winning and only winning. He sits 7 points back of Josef Newgarden after Sunday’s race at Road America and I fully expect him to win a couple more races and the championship.
Braden: I will have to agree with Alexander Rossi. Rossi was my preseason pick, and I will stick with him now. Sunday’s race was the most dominant since 2009 Scott Dixon at Mid-Ohio.
Who will be in contention during the final race?
Austin: Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi and Josef Newgarden. These four are the class of the field this season. Dixon is the best to ever drive an Indycar and he will find a way to close the gap and be in contention coming into the final race. Indianapolis 500 Champion Pagenaud is riding a wave of momentum after sweeping the month of May and I expect him to keep up with the top of the points standings. Rossi and Newgarden sit 1 and 2 in the points and will likely hold those spots going into the final race, though not necessarily in the current order.
Braden: Rossi, Newgarden, and Scott Dixon. Rossi and Newgarden at this point are no brainers, Pagenaud is in 3rd currently but only holding on due to the win at Indy. The more races the less that race will help, and he just is not in the same class as Rossi, Newgarden and Dixon. Which is why I have Dixon taking over 3rd, and still being a late factor needing a miracle in the final race. Dixon has a tendency to stay alive and might be the greatest driver of all-time. He will have a rough time making up the 94 points, but if anyone can Dixon can. He had some bad luck in Texas and Detriot with rare DNFs, don’t expect any more of those.
Rookie of the Year?
Austin: Colton Herta. Indycar bases Rookie of the year off points earned through finishes and Herta has had a few DNFs that have left him 4th in the rookie standings. However, Herta has been the most impressive of the rookie class. Youngest race winner and youngest pole sitter in Indycar history. I expect Herta to settle down and have some solid finishes throughout the rest of the season and secure his first of what I expect to be many season awards.
Braden: While Herta is the most talented, he has proven to be too aggressive at times, while Felix Rosenqvist has had an underwhelming season after I picked him 4th in the preseason, I still believe his consistency and Ganassi team will help him bring home the Rookie of the Year. He took the lead of it on Sunday, and while Herta will have better days than him, Herta will also have much worse days.