Indy Lights: Schmidt Peterson announces Scott Anderson as fourth driver

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He didn’t test this week at Palm Beach International Raceway, but Scott Anderson will be in a new Indy Lights Dallara IL15 chassis soon enough.

Anderson, who drove for Fan Force United in 2014, will move up to the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team as its fourth driver for 2015, the team announced Friday.

The Colorado native starred versus Spencer Pigot and Matthew Brabham in the 2012 USF2000 and 2013 Pro Mazda seasons before moving up to the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires ranks last season.

Anderson rounds out SPM’s four-car lineup for Lights, alongside fellow returnee Jack Harvey and full-time series newcomers RC Enerson and Ethan Ringel.

“We are pleased to have Scott at SPM for 2015,” SPM co-owner Sam Schmidt said in a release. “We kept an eye on him throughout 2014, and we think having teammates to gauge off of will be key to his success this season.”

Anderson also makes it three Americans out of four in the lineup. Combined with Juncos Racing’s pair (Pigot and Kyle Kaiser) and Andretti Autosport’s Shelby Blackstock, that makes for six Americans of the nine confirmed drivers thus far.

“We have identified areas to focus on for his second season, and we are looking forward to getting started with testing as soon as possible. It’s also an honor to have three Americans competing for SPM, which is a great sign for the future of U.S. open-wheel racing.”

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.