American Le Mans Series hard at work in Canada

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Multiple major categories such as Formula One, the IZOD IndyCar Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are taking this weekend off, but the American Le Mans Series will be on the throttle at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park outside Toronto.

Preparations began this morning for Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix (Race Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes), and the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing team of Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf (pictured) picked up where they left off two weeks ago at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. The duo is out for their fourth consecutive ALMS victory, and Graf led today’s opening practice session with a time of 1 minute, 7.124 seconds in the No. 6 HPD ARX-03c.

In the P2 category, Mike Conway, subbing for the injured Ryan Briscoe, put the No. 552 Level 5 Motorsports HPD-ARX 03b at the top of the practice charts with a time of 1 minute, 11.272 seconds. Conway, who raced admirably in last weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader, also led a “Promoter Test Day” on Friday at CTMP, so it would appear he is a threat for a class win in Canada.

Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia (1 minute, 16.227 seconds), BAR1 Motorsports’ Kyle Marcelli (1 minute, 11.838 seconds), and Alex Job Racing’s Jereon Bleekemolen led the Grand Touring, Prototype Challenge, and GT Challenge classes respectively in the session. Qualifying for tomorrow’s race will take place later this afternoon on the 2.46-mile road course, which has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation.

Its place on the major-league sports car landscape is yet to be determined as United SportsCar Racing continues to sort out its inaugural 2014 schedule. Track co-owner and accomplished Canadian racer Ron Fellows told the ALMS’ official website that he sees the chances of CTMP making the cut at “50-50.”

The track has been part of the ALMS schedule since the series’ inception in 1999.

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.