Andretti Autosport reveals IndyCar liveries, full 2014 plans

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Andretti Autosport took the wraps off its 2014 IndyCars on Monday at its Indianapolis shop. Three of the four entries have new liveries compared to 2013, and the fourth has a new (old) number.

The 2012 series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay retains the yellow, white and red DHL colors and returns to the number 28 after his title defense with No. 1 in 2013 featured myriad bad luck.

His teammates all have different colors. Marco Andretti, who retains sponsorship from the Dr Pepper Snapple group, shifts to a yellow-and-blue livery on his No. 25 Honda. The Snapple brand itself takes over from RC Cola, which it had been the last two seasons. This marks the group’s eighth season with the team; Andretti’s car had previously featured Venom Energy Drink, Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper TEN and RC Cola liveried cars.

James Hinchcliffe’s new United Fiber & Data entry, the No. 27, carries a blue-and-white livery that almost brings back memories of another Canadian era of motorsports: the Player’s/Forsythe liveries driven by Canadians Jacques Villeneuve, Paul Tracy, Patrick Carpentier, Alex Tagliani and the late Greg Moore. Villeneuve won the 1995 Indianapolis 500 and CART championship in the No. 27.

Meanwhile rookie Carlos Munoz rounds out the lineup with the No. 34, rather than the No. 26, with sponsorship from Cinsay, an Austin-based social/online video commerce company. Munoz steps up to a full season of IndyCar after racing two full years in Indy Lights, and also making three outstanding cameo appearances in IndyCar in 2013.

The reason for the No. 34, which had previously been run by the mid-pack Conquest and Coyne teams, is due to a partnership with the 34 Solutions group. Cinsay was named one of the Forbes Top 100 Most Promising Companies in 2012 and formed a relationship last March with 34 Solutions, a company co-chaired by All American football legend Herschel Walker. Under the 34 Commerce banner, the relationship names 34 Solutions as the licensed reseller of Cinsay’s Smart Store technology and provides payment gateway services to process the Smart Store™ platform transactions.

Munoz’s car is still run in partnership with HVM Racing, same as E.J. Viso’s car was in 2013.

There were two other announcements at the team launch. Andretti Autosport will expand into the Global Rallycross Championship as the factory team for VW; Andretti Sports Marketing is involved in some promotion with the series, so this was a natural progression.

The team also confirmed its Mazda Road to Indy lineup with the previously announced Matthew Brabham and Zach Veach in the team’s Indy Lights cars, with Garett Grist and Shelby Blackstock in the team’s Pro Mazda entries. The team will not field a USF2000 lineup as they have; Grist moves up for 2014 and Austin Cindric’s future is now to be determined as a result.

Here’s the four liveries in full:
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Marvin Musquin’s Indy win may have come too late

SupercrossLIVE.com
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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.