KVSH Racing partnering with Jonathan Byrd’s Racing for 2015 Indy 500

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A familiar Verizon IndyCar Series team will help Jonathan Byrd’s Racing in its return to the Indianapolis 500 next year.

KVSH Racing has confirmed that they’ll partner with the Byrd’s camp in fielding a car at the 2015 Indy for short-track powerhouse and former ‘500’ starter Bryan Clauson.

“When we first began discussions for this entry with the Byrd family, what came to mind was the campaign the Indianapolis Motor Speedway recently launched: ‘We all have a story,’ KVSH partner James “Sulli” Sullivan said in a team release.

“The Byrd’s have a storied history at the Speedway and we’re pleased to announce today they’ll be returning with KVSH Racing to start the next chapter of the Jonathan Byrd’s Racing story. We are excited to add another Indy 500 entry to the 2015 KVSH Racing lineup and stoked to have Bryan Clauson as our wheel man.

“I also think it is interesting to note that one of my partners, [team co-owner] Jimmy Vasser, was sponsored by Jonathan Byrd for his second Indy 500, so we have come full circle.”

Speaking on behalf of the Byrd family, David Byrd said that the addition of KVSH to his team’s program was “simply phenomenal.”

“The fact that we have our program in place a year in advance with what we hope is a long-term home for the Jonathan Byrd’s team, and to know that we are going to be able to provide Bryan with all of the resources he needs to win the 500 – I don’t think our family could ask for much more,” he said.

“It’s amazing to have a driver like Bryan put his faith in us to deliver for him and to stake his IndyCar future with us, and we are grateful to Kevin [Kalkhoven], Jimmy, Sulli, and the KVSH team for the opportunity to build with them.”

The Jonathan Byrd’s Racing name has not been seen in the ‘500’ since 2005, when it partnered with Panther Racing to field a car for 1996 Indy winner Buddy Lazier.

Today’s release stated that a testing schedule for Clauson is in development and will be announced when finalized.

“We have a lot of great things happening at Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, and aligning ourselves with KVSH Racing, a team which has competed many times at Indy and won the race, is a big step forward for our program,” said the multi-time USAC champion.

“KVSH knows firsthand what it takes to run up front at Indy, and having Jimmy Vasser there to lean on is going to be a huge bonus for me. I can’t wait to get to work.”

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.