Josef Newgarden opens as early GMR Grand Prix PointsBet favorite

GMR Grand Prix PointsBet
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Josef Newgarden is the GMR Grand Prix PointsBet early line favorite for the May 15, 2021 race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC).

In a season that has witnessed four winners in four races, Newgarden has been shut out of Victory Lane. His season got off to a rough start when he spun on the opening lap of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and finished 23rd in a field of 24. He rebounded in the next race and finished second to Colton Herta in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Newgarden’s odds for the Indy Grand Prix were set at +540 on Thursday.

One way to view American Odds is to move the decimal point two positions to the left. That will let a bettor know what they will make on a $1 bet, so the return on investment for Newgarden this week is $5.40. For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Scott Dixon, who opened as the early line favorite for the May 30, 2021 Indy 500, is ranked second on the road course at PointsBet with a +580. In four races this season, Dixon swept the top five. He won the Genesys 300 in the first of two races held at Texas Motor Speedway.

Will Power is ranked third with +650 odds. Power’s best result so far in 2021 came in the season-opener at Barber Motorsports Park when he finished second to Alex Palou. Dixon has not cracked the top five since.

Three races were held on the IMS road course in 2020. Dixon, Newgarden, and Power each won one of those events.

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Colton Herta is listed at +750. Herta won the second road course race of the season at St. Petersburg. He crashed on Lap 25 at Barber and finished 22nd.

Patricio O’Ward has three top-fives in the first four events including a win in the second Texas race. He rounds out the top five with odds of +775.

The other road course winner this year, Palou has long odds of +1800.

Jimmie Johnson is still struggling to get comfortable in IndyCar with results of 19th and 22nd in the first two road races of the season. Along with Max Chilton and Dalton Kellett, he is this week’s biggest longshot this week at +50000 (500/1).

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For more betting coverage, check out NBC Sports Edge.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”