|Carlos Munoz v. Josef Newgarden
||Newgarden: Munoz has star power written all over him, and will be this year’s rookie-of-the-year. But young Josef and the gritty SFHR team quietly began to find their stride last season. I think Newgarden wins a race and potentially finishes top-10 championship finish.
||Munoz: Andretti team moves to Honda this year and will likely win a lot of races. Munoz won't be rookie-of-the-year because last year was his rookie year. In his sophomore year he may get his first win. Newgarden improving but SFHR lost too many key personnel in offseason and may take a step backward.|
|Tony Kanaan v. Helio Castroneves
||Kanaan: This one is the toughest on the list. Just think Kanaan is going to be somewhat re-energized after the move to Ganassi, and I fear Helio is going to be the forgotten man at Penske with the arrival of Montoya.
||Kanaan: Defending IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and defending Indy 500 winner now on the same team. They will push each other to excel. With Dario now team consultant, team will be formidable. Helio will have his hands full beating teammates Power and Montoya. |
|Ryan Briscoe v. Marco Andretti
||Andretti: Marco made great strides in 2013, and easily could have won 2-3 of the oval races. As for Briscoe, I always believed he lost some of his mojo when Will Power arrived at Team Penske. I likewise fear he will be an afterthought at Ganassi.
||Andretti: Marco should be in his prime years now. It's now or never for the third generation Andretti to prove he inherited the Andretti genes. If not there are some more Andretti boys in the pipeline, including his newest brother Mario Andretti, named after his famous grandfather. |
|Ryan Hunter-Reay v. Sebastien Bourdais
||Hunter-Reay: Bourdais is going to be a top-5 finisher in the series standings and win, but RHR finds himself in the enviable position of being top dog at Honda.
||Hunter-Reay: RHR finds himself in the enviable position of being top dog at Honda. Honda driver Scott Dixon won the title last year with only one turbocharger. Now they have two. The Chevy teams should be worried. |
|Simon Pagenaud v. James Hinchcliffe
||Pagenaud: I love The Mayor, but Pagenaud is more consistent on a week-to-week basis at this point.
||Hinchcliffe: He won twice last year with Chevy power. Now with Honda I expect The Mayor to win more. Pagenaud will get his 2nd win in 2015.|
|Juan Pablo Montoya v. Justin Wilson
||Wilson: Everyone is predicting doom and gloom for DCR. But Wilson always finds a way to be relevant. I’m hesitant to ever pick against JPM, but how he is going to perform after nearly a decade away from open-wheelers is a total mystery.
||Montoya: it is hard to bet against the deep pockets of the Penske Team as compared to Dale Coyne's low budget operation. I can see Wilson winning one race but Montoya is fit again and out to prove he can win and win again.|
|Sebastian Saavedra v. Jack Hawksworth
||Saavedra: Neither one cracks the top-15 in points. But Saavedra’s experience trumps Hawksworth, who could have used another year of Indy Lights in my opinion. I foresee a lot of crash damage for the #98 team. Also, I think Saavedra has more talent than people give him credit for.
||Saavedra: Cannot disagree with anything Brian says on this matchup.|
|Graham Rahal v. Charlie Kimball
||Kimball: Kimball reminds me a lot of (this is going to be an odd comparison), Andre Ribeiro. He can be electric on his day, and last season he added some consistency. I think Rahal is better than the 18th-place point finish from 2013. But that team was out-to-lunch not occasionally, but most race weekends last season.
||Hard to predict: Kimball with the stronger team (Ganassi) and last year he proved he is a winner. However, the RLL team has a good budget with the National Guard which should help them with R&D. Like Marco Andretti, it's time for 2nd generation driver Graham Rahal to prove he inherited his famous father's driving skill.|
|Mikhail Aleshin v. Takuma Sato
||Aleshin: Doubting Sato has burned me before. But this prediction is partially based on the fact, I’m not sure Sato will survive a start to this season that mirrors the second-half of 2013. I also think the fact Aleshin signed so early and has been out testing for the ever-improving SPM team, will benefit the likable Russian
||Aleshin: He has a lot to learn but I think he is going to surprise everyone. Teamed with Simon Pagenaud, Aleshin will learn quickly and rookie of the year is not out of the question. The SPM team is also improving and they have put together a good team of people.|
|Oriol Servia v. Ed Carpenter
||Servia: Although Oriol is only signed up for four races at this point, history tells us Servia will catch on for more races. And with Ed only doing the 6 oval races, I’m taking Servia.
||Carpenter: Carpenter has proven he is fast on the ovals, but the team struggles on the road courses and this will hinder Servia's results. And with Servia only doing six races, it will be hard for him to develop the necessary synergy with the team to turn their road course program around.|
|Kurt Busch v. Jacques Villeneuve
||Villeneuve: This is the battle of Indy 500-only drivers. I credit Busch for stepping out of his element. But Villeneuve was electric at Indy in two starts and keep in mind, many drivers have won Indy in their 40s. Villeneuve won’t do that, but he’ll have a respectable showing in the 500.
||Busch: Busch is with the stronger team (Andretti) and he will benefit from setup with his four teammates. It is hard for a taxicab (NASCAR) driver to excel in open wheel racing, but Busch has talent and if he gets the car handling to his liking, the dual turbo Honda power will push him forward.|
|Scott Dixon v. Will Power
||Power: Hard to bet against Dixon. I just think its Power’s time.
||Dixon: I think the Montoya addition to the Penske team may be a distraction, and if Montoya beats Power early, the pressure will be on Power. Dixon is in his prime, and as Brian says, hard to bet against. |