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The 2019 Supercross champion will have a tale of perfection to tell

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Unless Cooper Webb or Marvin Musquin stumbles massively in the final four weeks of the Supercross season, Houston will likely be a microcosm of the season.

We just don’t know if it will be Webb’s early season perfection of Musquin’s come-from-behind charge that will carry the day.

Webb pushed his teammate off course in the first Main of the Triple Crown format, putting Musquin in a hole from which he could not climb for the remainder of the night. As Musquin found himself mired in traffic, Webb went on to finish second in that Main. Webb then won Main 2 – giving him a points lead to lean upon.

In Houston, Musquin steadily improved throughout the night. Finishing fifth in Main 1, he stood on the podium in Main 2 and won the final feature.

And that is how the season has played out for both riders.

Webb was winless on a 450 entering this year and when he left Anaheim II with that first victory, few thought he had a legitimate shot at the championship. What followed was a run of near-perfection with three more victories and a second-place finish in the next five races – interrupted only by the muddy conditions of San Diego.

Athletes are defined by the obstacles they overcome. The bigger the challenge, the greater the achievement.

And if Musquin wins the 2019 Supercross championship, he will need to have his own tale of near-perfection to tell.

Through Houston, Musquin has 10 podium finishes in 13 rounds, but only two of these have been victories.

Even with a 17-point advantage for Webb, it is too soon to count Musquin out. Houston’s final result aside, he has been outriding his teammate in recent weeks. While Webb slipped from the top of the podium in Atlanta to second at Daytona, third at Indianapolis and fourth at Seattle, Musquin steadily improved.

Musquin won back to back races at Indy and Seattle before finishing second last week. If Musquin had been able to make the pass that Webb’s contact denied him, Musquin would have won last week as well. That change in position was worth six points Musquin could ill afford to lose at this stage of the season.

For Musquin to win the championship, he has to win a couple of the final four races while Webb finishes at least two positions back. Musquin needs to shave off 4.25 points per race and his saving grace is that he has ridden well enough to do that in the last three weeks.

The only problem is Webb has finished worse than second only three times in the last 11 races.

Make that two problems: Musquin has gained four or more points only three times this year (he gained five points at Glendale, eight in San Diego and five in Indy). Musquin would have shaved another seven off in Seattle if not for his penalty.

As for Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen, they need to make up 6.5 and 9 points respectively while leap frogging Musquin. And that will turn out to be too steep of a hill to climb even if either rider winds up with a perfect end to their season.

Supercross and Motocross season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew ready for IndyCar ride

Road to Indy
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Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew has done nothing but dominate the 2019 season, winning seven of the 16 races run so far and finishing on the podium in all but two of those events.

Now all the 22-year-old Floridian needs to do to formally clinch the 2019 title is simply start the final two races of the season, both of which will be held this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

For Askew, his maiden Indy Lights season will likely be one he’ll never forget. 

“It’s been a dream come true,” Askew told NBC Sports. “Being with the championship-winning team from last year, we had a really good shot at winning it again for Andretti Autosport. It’s very rare that we show up to a track and struggle to find speed. 

“That’s a fantastic feeling, especially as a driver. That gave me a lot of confidence and hopes of holding the million dollar check at the end of the year. That was the goal going into it.”

This weekend, Askew will accomplish said goal. The championship will not only bring him a sense of pride, but also the opportunity of a lifetime. 

As an award for being crowned the Indy Lights champion, Askew will be awarded a scholarship that guarantees him entry into a minimum of three NTT IndyCar Series events next year – including the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. 

Time will only tell which team Askew will race for in IndyCar next season, and whether or not Askew’s rookie campaign will be a full-time or part-time affair, but Askew’s performance during the last few seasons in the Road to Indy system has certainly drawn attention of IndyCar’s top team owners.

In August, Askew had the chance to drive an Indy car for the first time in his career during a test session at Portland International Raceway, driving the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda usually piloted by Scott Dixon.

“It was an opportunity with Chip Ganassi Racing that I was very fortunate to have,” Askew said. “I think with my experience in the past couple of years with Cape Motorsports and this year with Andretti Autosport, going into that test was very helpful.

“Going into the test, it was more of trying to treat it as just another day at the racetrack, when it really wasn’t. It was a fantastic opportunity for me – a great experience – and I hope I can take that into my rookie season next year in IndyCar.” 

The final two races of the 2019 Indy Lights season will take place this weekend on Saturday, September 21 at 6 p.m. ET and Sunday, September 22 at 12:05 p.m. ET. Both races will air live on NBC Sports Gold.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter