IndyCar reaches resolution with Indy Lights team owner

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Two years after issues stemming from an Indy Lights race at the Milwaukee Mile, the INDYCAR sanctioning body has announced a resolution with O2 Racing Technology team owner Mark Olson.

Olson and his team were suspended for allegedly encouraging other teams to withdraw from the event and break their contracts with the series in doing so. His team was the only one to withdraw from the event, removing its two entries.

Following the suspensions, Olson filed an appeal but series officials upheld the decision in July of 2011, one month after the event.

In a release issued by the series yesterday, INDYCAR director of competition Derrick Walker said it was time to have the “slate wiped clean.”

“Regrettably, it’s taken a long time to sort this out,” he said. “I appreciate the passion and commitment that the all drivers and team owners bring to the sport, and Mark is no exception.

“Indy Lights is committed to work closer together with our team owners in the future to build and maintain a robust championship for decades to come. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Mark and know he is the type of business owner we would welcome in the series.”

Olson, in turn, commended the series for its “absolute commitment” to doing the right thing for its teams and drivers, as well as the sport at large.

“Speaking as both a fan and as a participant, INDYCAR is a great property and it’s been a lifelong dream to play even a small part,” he said. “I look forward to opportunities to work together in the future.”

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.