Tony Kanaan leads IndyCar practice at Iowa

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Tony Kanaan, who jumped 16 spots to finish third last year at Iowa Speedway, led this morning’s IZOD IndyCar Series practice session on the 7/8-mile short oval with a lap at 184.063 miles per hour in the No. 11 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet.

This morning’s session will be the sole practice run for drivers and teams before they undergo single-car qualifying later this afternoon at 4 p.m. ET – which will serve to determine the groups for the three, 50-lap heat races that will set the grid for Sunday’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 (2:30 pm ET, check local listings).

Those heat races will begin tonight at 6:45 p.m. ET and will be streamed on IndyCar.com Race Control.

Coming off his first podium of the season last weekend at Milwaukee, Will Power posted the second-quickest practice time with a lap at 183.602 mph for Team Penske. His teammate Helio Castroneves, who was runner-up to winner Ryan Hunter-Reay last weekend, was fourth (182.962 mph) in the session behind third-place man Marco Andretti (183.100), who is seeking to make up the ground he lost in the championship seven days ago.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon was fifth-fastest at 182.841 mph, with E.J. Viso, James Hinchcliffe, James Jakes, Ed Carpenter and Simon Pagenaud completing the Top 10.

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.