Kurt Busch amped for IndyCar test at IMS with Andretti

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Today, Kurt Busch will do something he hasn’t in 10 years: test an open-wheel car. And he’ll be doing at IndyCar’s most hallowed ground: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion who races for Furniture Row Racing and outside of NASCAR has also tested and raced in Australian V8 Supercars and NHRA Pro Stock, will take over Ryan Hunter-Reay’s No. 1 DHL Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport. He had a seat fitting on Wednesday.

“This is big time. To have Andretti give you a call in the Month of May… I’m a stock car guy,” Busch admitted.

The test is being hailed as a possibility for doing the double of the 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in 2014. Busch called on former IndyCar champion Sam Hornish Jr., now a Penske Racing driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, for tips on how to handle the Speedway in an IndyCar.

“There are (nerves) for sure. I called Sam Hornish Jr., a guy I worked with at Penske for years,” he said. “I was the mentor. He was the student. I flopped it on him and called him this morning and got some good advice. There’s never anything to prepare you for holding a car wide open going into Turn 1 at Indianapolis. In my discipline, I have to lift at the 1 marker in a big, heavy stock car. Sam said there’s a speed side of it and the experience of a rear-engine car.”

Busch will go through the traditional phases of rookie orientation, and see where that leads going forward.

“I wouldn’t call it an audition,” he said. “I think the most important part is to have the fun with it first, and then let the business side take care of itself later.”

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.