IZOD IndyCar Predictions for the Honda Grand Prix at Long Beach

No NameAnalyst IApril 13, 2011

IZOD IndyCar Predictions for the Honda Grand Prix at Long Beach

0 of 8

    Ryan Hunter-Reay
    Ryan Hunter-Reay

    Through the first two races of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season, we have seen cars upside down, the new double-file restarts both creating havoc and working, with some impressive runs by many drivers.

    While it has already been a crazy few weeks of the season, things will begin to take shape after this weekend's race at Long Beach.

    Helio Castroneves dominated the first race, with Will Power finishing in third. They reversed positions at Barber last week, and it appears as though those two will be battling it out once again for the series Championship.

    Will one of them grab their second trophy of the young season, or will someone else finally emerge and steal the spotlight from these two?

    There are many drivers I like in this weekend's race that aren't named Dario or Power, but it's hard to go against those two.

    Sunday's Honda Grand Prix at Long Beach will begin at 3:30 p.m., with qualifying taking place at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Pole Award: Dario Franchitti

1 of 8

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MARCH 27: Dario Franchitti, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda drives at the IndyCar Series Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 27, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Image
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    If anyone can stop Will Power from getting the pole, it is probably this guy.

    I wanted to put Justin Wilson in this spot, but I just don't know how he is going to handle this rough street course with his injured wrist.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Tony Kanaan make a run at this pole position, either.

First to Crash: James Jakes

2 of 8

    Call this one a hunch, but I just haven't seen anything from him that impresses me yet. He will likely be starting in the rear, which could mean trouble.

Fifth Place: Marco Andretti

3 of 8

    BIRMINGHAM, AL - APRIL 09:  Marco Andretti, driver of the #26 Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda, drives during qualifying for the IndyCar Series Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 9, 2011 in Birmingham, Alabama.  (Photo by
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Marco had the worst possible start to the season in St. Pete. He followed that up nicely last weekend with a fourth place finish at Barber.

    He has improved tremendously on the street/road courses since he first came into the series. I look for him to continue to carry the banner for Andretti Autosport and have another solid run this Sunday.

Fourth Place: Ryan Briscoe

4 of 8

    BIRMINGHAM, AL - APRIL 08:  Ryan Briscoe of Australia, driver of the #6 Team Penske Dallara Honda, drives during practice for the IndyCar Series Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 8, 2011 in Birmingham, Alabama.  (Photo b
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Is there anyone more desperate for a solid finish this weekend than Ryan? With two DNFs on the season, he almost has to have a top five finish to regain some momentum.

    He had a great run at Barber before he got taken out by Hunter-Reay, but he handled it with class and knows he has to have a great run here on Sunday.

Third Place: Dario Franchitti

5 of 8

    ST PETERSBURG, FL - MARCH 27:  Dario Franchitti, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara wins the IndyCar Series Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg on March 27, 2011 in St Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Yes, I know he has done extremely well here, and I picked him to win the pole, but I just have a feeling he will come up a bit short in this one.

    Another podium finish, though, will give him enough points to smile at the end of the day.

Second Place: Tony Kanaan

6 of 8

    ST PETERSBURG, FL - MARCH 27:  Tony Kanaan drives of the #82 Geico KV Racing Technology Lotus Honda Dallara during the IndyCar Series Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg on March 27, 2011 in St Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Tony has had an incredible start to the season, especially when you consider the time (or lack there of) with his team, KV Racing Technology.

    He has two top-five finishes here at Long Beach, so I look for his momentum to continue as he grabs a runner-up finish on Sunday.

First Place: Will Power

7 of 8

    BIRMINGHAM, AL - APRIL 10:  Will Power of Australia, driver of the #12 Team Penske Dallara Honda, drives during warmups before the IndyCar Series Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 10, 2011 in Birmingham, Alabama.  (Photo
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    As hard as it is for me to not have Scott Dixon or Helio Castroneves in the top-five this weekend, it is even harder for me to pick someone other than Power.

    He knows this course like the back of his hand, and he is most likely going to be starting in the front row. I believe his missed opportunities last season are fueling him this season, and he is going to be off to a red-hot start, picking up his second consecutive win this Sunday at Long Beach.

Dark Horse: Graham Rahal

8 of 8

    BIRMINGHAM, AL - APRIL 10:  Graham Rahal, driver of the #38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda, competes during the IndyCar Series Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 10, 2011 in Birmingham, Alabama.  (Photo
    Robert Laberge/Getty Images

    I think it's about time Graham remembers that he is Graham Rahal, and that he is driving a Chip Ganassi car. This track is a favorable one for him, so I think he has a chance to make some noise this weekend.

    Paul Tracy will be making his 2011 season debut with Dragon Racing at Long Beach, so look for him to get his silver No. 8 car going strong early.

    I must also point out that last week I correctly picked the top four finishers, and my fifth-place prediction (Helio) finished seventh.

    I bring this to your attention because I know not every week is going to be so accurate, so I like to boast when I can, as this week's predictions will probably all be wrong!