PRN radio reporter Doug Rice to pull Memorial Day broadcast double with Shell support

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Andretti. Gordon. Stewart. Busch. Rice.

Rice?

Yes, Rice.

No, 2004 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Rice – who remains active as a driver coach and spotter for JDC Motorsports in the Mazda Road to Indy, and a spotter for CFH Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series this month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – isn’t making a comeback to driving this week.

But Doug Rice, veteran pit reporter for the Performance Racing Network, is set to add his name to the four drivers who’ve pulled the Memorial Day “double” of the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600.

Rice will be in a firesuit, but not behind the wheel, for at least part of his Sunday.

He’ll cover the Indy 500 from pit road for the IMS Radio Network, then co-anchor the Coca-Cola 600 for tPRN from Charlotte Motor Speedway that same evening.

With logistical support from Shell Oil Company, Rice will be able to attempt what no other broadcaster in the history of the two major events has done.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time,” Rice said in a release. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, to be truthful, it’s been a dream of mine since Andretti pulled off the first double in 1994.”

Rice isn’t underestimating the challenge, as rather than roughly eight or nine hours of driving, he’ll be doing close to eight or nine hours of talking throughout the day.

“I’ve always been in awe of the drivers who were able to survive the impact of the double,” Rice said. “And even though this will be different kind of double, it will still be a challenge. I’m betting on energy and adrenaline to keep me going through the day in Indy and during the night for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.”

“We are very happy to help Doug and our friends at PRN make this happen,” added Heidi Massey-Bong, Sr. Business Advisor – NASCAR Sponsorship, Shell Oil Company. “This effort with Doug along with other activities taking place over the Memorial Day race weekend are going to help us showcase some exciting news for Shell.”

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.