Franchitti goes “fourth” with momentum

0 Comments
This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

After back-to-back DNFs to start the year, securing a good finish was the mission for pole sitter Dario Franchitti in his 250th career start this afternoon. Consider the mission accomplished, as Franchitti battled to a fourth-place result at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The Scotsman’s attempt to turn his pole position into a win was partly stymied by problems on pit road. He lost a couple of positions on a lengthy first stop at Lap 29, and later lost third place and a podium finish to Justin Wilson on the final restart of the day while trying to avoid the lapped car of Charlie Kimball, who went into the Turn 1 tire barrier just moments after the green flag came back out.

“We dropped the car with three tires on the wagon I think, so that cost us a few good spots,” said Franchitti. “And then, I lost one here to Justin trying to avoid Charlie, who was a lap down and going for glory. At the end there, [Justin and I] were fairly evenly matched. It’s just that we chose to save fuel that last bit.

“With the loss of track position, I wasn’t good enough to catch Justin. But, a good result for the Target team after those first couple of DNFs.”

Franchitti collected his fifth Top-5 finish in 11 career starts at Long Beach, but more importantly, he gave his No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing team some important momentum to build off of as they head for Brazil in two weeks’ time.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media
0 Comments

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.