TRD pulls three Bowyer motors after parts review

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Toyota Racing Development has recalled three of its engines that were earmarked for Michael Waltrip Racing pilot Clint Bowyer following a parts review. According to Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press, TRD pulled Bowyer’s engine for tonight’s race at Richmond International Raceway, as well as his primary and backup motors for next weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Per Fryer, the parts review found at least one connecting rod in each of the three engines that made Toyota squeamish, especially in the wake of the major sanctions levied against Matt Kenseth and his Joe Gibbs Racing squad this week.

“We took every connecting rod in our inventory and removed anything that was too close for comfort,” TRD vice president David Wilson said to the AP.

“They are using an abundance of caution right now,” MWR team co-owner Rob Kauffman added in Fryer’s piece. “They know — David knows — this cannot happen again.”

One of the rods in Kenseth’s race-winning engine from last weekend at Kansas Speedway did not meet the minimum weight requirement. As a result, Kenseth was docked 50 championship points, while crew chief Jason Ratcliff was hit with a $200,000 fine and a six-week suspension. In addition, Gibbs had his owner’s license suspended for the next six weeks. Toyota also lost five points in the manufacturer’s championship.

JGR has appealed the penalties, and TRD, which makes the engines for the Gibbs and MWR camps, claimed responsibility.

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.