Hunter-Reay out after contact with tire barrier

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Defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay is out of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach after crashing into the tire barriers at Turn 8 on Lap 49 of the 80 lap race.

Hunter-Reay was seeking to go to the inside of Ana Beatriz but carried too much speed into the corner and went into the tires. He will be credited with a 23rd place finish after winning the most recent IZOD IndyCar Series race two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park.

The American driver was already mired in the back after sustaining damage in an earlier incident that also involved Andretti Autosport teammates James Hinchcliffe and E.J. Viso, as well as Tony Kanaan. Hinchcliffe’s car came out the worst in the run-in at Lap 35 and the Canadian was knocked out of the race.

“Some of the corners that are my strongest were my weakest today,” Hunter-Reay told the NBC Sports Network when he got out of the car following his crash at Turn 8. “I started just trying things. We were in the back anyway. I had to go for it, and got inside of Ana, and I just drove in too hot. There was no grip on the inside there.

“I was just trying things — anything to make a bad day go a little bit better. But it just went from bad to worse. I feel bad for the guys. They gave me a great car all weekend. We just missed it today and I absolutely missed it out on the track.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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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.