National Motorsports Press Association announces five nominees for 2014 Hall of Fame class

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The National Motorsports Press Association announced Tuesday five nominees as potential inductees into the organization’s Hall of Fame.

NMPA membership will vote on the five candidates later this year, and those receiving the most ballots will become the 2014 inductees to be honored during ceremonies next January in Charlotte, N.C.

(Disclosure: I am a member of the NMPA board of directors).

The five nominees are:

Mario Andretti: Four-time Indy car champion, 1967 Daytona 500 winner, 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner, 1978 Formula One season champion. Is the only driver to win the Indy 500, Daytona 500 and the F1 championship. Is one of only two drivers to win in F1, Indy car racing, NASCAR and the World Sports Car Championship.

Joe Gibbs: Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup championship team owner, two-time Nationwide Series championship team owner, former NHRA team owner, three-time Super Bowl champion head coach. Drivers for Joe Gibbs Racing have won a combined 188 races (106 Sprint Cup, 82 Nationwide).

Ray Evernham: Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup championship crew chief for Jeff Gordon. Brought Dodge back to NASCAR Cup and Nationwide competition as a team owner in 2001.

L.D. Ottinger: Two-time Sportsman class champion (1974, 1975). Seven consecutive top-10 season finishes in the Busch Series (predecessor to today’s Nationwide Series).

Steve Waid: Veteran motorsports writer and publisher. Began his career as a sports writer, joined the staff of Grand National Scene (which eventually became Winston Cup Scene and then NASCAR Scene) as a writer and rose to eventually became publisher. Is a former winner of the NMPA’s George Cunningham Award and a recipient of the Henry T. McLemore Award for outstanding lifetime achievement in motorsports journalism.

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.