Strong NASCAR prospects join Petty development program

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The brother of Sprint Cup driver Martin Truex Jr. and the son of former multi-time Nationwide Series champion Randy LaJoie have now aligned themselves with one of the biggest names in racing.

21-year-old Ryan Truex (pictured) and 21-year-old Corey LaJoie have been signed to a developmental program run by Richard Petty Motorsports, which will decide where the two will race depending on the sponsorship it can gain for them.

Truex has been a part-time Nationwide Series driver over the last three seasons, but has only made one start in a NASCAR national series in 2013 (Camping World Truck Series at Daytona). He had been slated to make his Sprint Cup debut at Richmond earlier this year for Phoenix Racing, but he sustained a collarbone injury on Easter and was unable to drive.

LaJoie has only run a handful of races this season, but finished runner-up in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East category last year after winning five events.

RPM competition director Sammy Johns is upbeat about the future potential for the pair, who have competed against each other in the past.

“They’re both really good talents,” Johns told the Motor Racing Network’s Dustin Long. “Any time they’ve gotten the opportunity to show it, they’ve run really well.”

In another piece by FoxSports.com’s Lee Spencer, Johns indicated that Truex and LaJoie may be steered toward the Nationwide Series because of RPM’s current single-car presence there alongside its two-car operation in the premier Cup series.

Marvin Musquin’s Indy win may have come too late

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Marvin Musquin answered one question at Indianapolis last week, but the biggest one may well plague him for the next six weeks.

Musquin has won a battle, but can he win the war?

After standing on the podium in eight of the first 10 races, Musquin finally showed the field he was capable of winning in Indy when he grabbed the holeshot and led every lap on the way to Victory Lane. He was never seriously challenged and it was the Musquin that Supercross fans expected to see all season.

It was a long time coming. Musquin must have felt like victory was just around the corner after finishing second in the overall standings in Anaheim II’s Triple Crown race. He was third in the first Main that night and second in the last two Mains.

As it turned out, that single race defined his season until last week. Musquin stood on the podium all night, but he finished two spots behind Cooper Webb in the first Main and was one spot back in the second. It was only as time ran out that he was able to beat Webb by a single spot in the third Main. If Musquin had won either of the first two Mains, he would have had the overall victory – denying Webb his first career win in the process.

Webb’s Anaheim win revitalized the rider and gave him the confidence to rattle off four more wins in the next seven races.

Meanwhile, Musquin scored podium finishes in the next seven races, making him almost perfect. In another season, a record like that would have been enough to give him a comfortable points lead. In 2019, he sit 14 markers out of first, which is the points’ equivalent of the difference between first and 11th in one race. In other words, Webb cannot lose the points lead at Seattle unless he finishes outside the top 10 while his teammate wins.

Looking at the numbers another way the scenario is not quite as hopeless. Musquin needs to shave only 2.3 points off Webb’s lead each week to win the championship. Three points separate first and second. Five points differentiates first from third, which is where Webb finished in Indianapolis. Webb is vulnerable as his 10th-place finish at Glendale and an eighth at San Diego attest.

Those bobbles came early and Webb seems to have forgotten how to make a mistake.

A third-place is Webb’s worst finish in the last six weeks and since Anaheim II when Musquin started his impressive string of podium finishes, Webb has recorded an average finish of 2.2. That came with a worst finish of eighth on an extremely muddy and heavy track in San Diego. Musquin has a worst finish of only sixth, but his average of 2.8 still lags behind Webb.

Worse still, since Anaheim II Musquin has finished behind Webb in every race except for the outlier of San Diego.

It is no longer a question of keeping pressure on Webb. Musquin cannot expect his teammate to make a mistake; he has to find a way to pass him on the track. If Webb adds only two points to his lead at Seattle, Musquin’s fate would no longer be in his hands. He would need to gain 3.2 points per race. With that scenario, Webb could finish one spot behind Musquin every week and still win the championship.