NASCAR: Elliott Sadler jumping to Roush for 2015 XFINITY Series season

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Elliott Sadler will be switching teams and dropping a 1 for his 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series campaign.

Sadler, the former Sprint Cup veteran that has competed full-time in NASCAR’s No. 2 national series for the past four years, will bring his OneMain Financial backing to the No. 1 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion – ending a two-year run in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

OneMain will serve as a full sponsor for Sadler in all 33 XFINITY races next season. The company had previously backed Roush Fenway’s Nationwide Series efforts from 2008 to 2010.

“It’s great to have OneMain Financial back on board,” said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark in a release. “They are a first-class organization from top to bottom, a leader in their field and one of the most respected organizations in their industry. We enjoyed a great partnership in the past, and we look forward to reigniting that relationship moving forward next season.

“We are also very excited about what Elliott Sadler brings to our driver lineup. He is a seasoned veteran and a winner on the track.  He brings a reputation as a fierce competitor and I know that our entire organization, and particularly his Roush Fenway teammates in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed, will benefit from his experience next season.”

As for Sadler, his move to Roush will bring about a reunion in several ways.

Much of Sadler’s Cup career was spent behind the wheel of a Ford, with full-time stints driving for Blue Oval stalwarts like the Wood Brothers, Robert Yates Racing, and Richard Petty Motorsports after that team left the Dodge camp in 2010.

Since transitioning full-time to the Nationwide Series, Sadler has driven Chevrolets for Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress in addition to his current Toyota ride with JGR.

Sadler has finished second, second, and fourth in the Nationwide championship in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively. He currently sits fourth in this year’s standings on the strength of a spring win at Talladega and 22 Top-10 finishes.

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.