Trent Owens in as Almirola’s crew chief at Petty

Leave a comment

Trent Owens has been announced as the crew chief for Aric Almirola’s No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford in the Sprint Cup Series, marking his first full-time crew chief opportunity in NASCAR’s top series.

Owens, a five-time winner in Nationwide Series competition, served as crew chief for Kyle Larson this past season at Turner Scott Motorsports’ NNS operation.

Larson, who will compete for Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year honors for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in 2014, earned nine Top-5s and 17 Top-10s under Owens’ guidance.

Additionally, Owens helped Larson take his inaugural Camping World Truck Series win back in April at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway.

“This is a great opportunity to join a Sprint Cup organization and a race team that can win,” Owens said in a statement. “The No. 43 team has proven they can race up front.

“We just need to find a little more consistency to make the Chase. I believe we can put ourselves in contention for a Chase spot in 2014.”

Almirola knows Owens from his NNS days when the two competed against each other. He’s hopeful that Owens can help RPM find that missing consistency.

“He’s a very talented crew chief who has accomplished a lot, but he’s still very hungry to do a lot more,” Almirola said in his thoughts. “Our team is the same. We’re getting better, but we need more Top-10’s, Top-5s and wins.

“I believe Trent can help us do that and he’s a positive addition to the team.”

Greg Ebert served as the No. 43’s interim crew chief for the final four races of the 2013 season after Todd Parrott was dismissed following his indefinite suspension for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy.

Marvin Musquin’s Indy win may have come too late

SupercrossLIVE.com
Leave a comment

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.