Juncos confirms two-car Indy Lights program, including Pro Mazda champ Spencer Pigot

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The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires field continues to grow with news Juncos Racing is back in the championship for a second go-’round, this time with a full-season two-car effort. The team ran a partial season in 2012.

Pro Mazda champion Spencer Pigot will move up with Juncos and be joined by his Pro Mazda teammate Kyle Kaiser. They’ll drive the No. 12 and 18 entries, respectively, of the new Dallara IL15 chassis.

“I’m very happy to rejoin Juncos Racing for the 2015 season,” Pigot said in a release. “We worked really well together last year and were able to achieve a lot of success so I hope we can build on that in 2015. It’s a very exciting time to be moving up to Indy Lights with the new car. It looks great and I can’t wait to drive it. It will be my third season as a Mazda scholarship driver and I can’t thank everyone at Mazda enough for this opportunity along with my other supporters. The first test is coming up soon so we’ll be working hard in the shop to make sure we hit the ground running.”

Added Kaiser, “I am thrilled to be moving up to Indy Lights and be among the first Mazda Road to Indy drivers to test and race the new Dallara IL-15. This is a unique opportunity to be learning all the nuances of the new car at the same time as the other teams, which will be a true test of our feedback and setup skills. Juncos is like a second home, so it’s fantastic that we were able to keep the same synergy within the team for the Indy Lights series.”

The pair are the third and fourth drivers announced for next year’s Indy Lights series; Felix Serralles (Belardi) and Ethan Ringel (Schmidt Peterson) have also been confirmed.

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.