Newgarden improving, and is subject of latest INDYCAR 36 on NBCSN

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Josef Newgarden’s second season in the IZOD IndyCar Series has featured better results, but both he and the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team are determined to find even more improvements.

The Tennessee native has the first three top-10 finishes of his career banked, with a best of fifth in Brazil. Still, as he admitted in an interview Thursday, he still has some way to go.

“This year hasn’t been stellar but has been significantly better on a lot of fronts,” he said. “We’re securing results better and making fewer mistakes all around compared to last year. We have done a great job on strategy and results. But within myself, there’s still stuff to work on. I need to elevate our qualifying. At least now I’ve learned how to run a full race and put myself in position for the best possible result.”

Going into Texas, Newgarden doesn’t have the backdrop of the old Dallara chassis for reference, and has enjoyed the way this car races here with reduced downforce and tires falling off over the course of a stint.

“I loved watching the old races at Texas, but I also like the minimal downforce running we’re doing now,” he said. “Fontana last year was fun to be a part of. We weren’t in the mix there because of an electrical issue, but we were pace-wise. I thought the cars were a lot of fun to drive there.”

Newgarden’s quirky persona and social media savvy – along with, you know, racing – will be highlighted in the next episode of INDYCAR 36, which airs at midnight ET June 8 on the NBC Sports Network, produced by IMS Productions. Newgarden drove the No. 21 Century 21 Honda at Indianapolis and is now back in his normal No. 67 for the SFHR team.

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.