Barracuda Racing, the team led by Bryan Herta and Steve Newey, made two wise choices when it came to filling the cockpit of the No. 98 Honda for the remainder of the IZOD IndyCar Series season.
After being sidelined since the Indianapolis 500 when his contract with Panther Racing was terminated, Sausalito, Calif.’s JR Hildebrand will have a go for two races in his home state at Sonoma (Aug. 25) and Fontana, Calif. (Oct. 19).
Luca Filippi, who impressed on debut last race in Mid-Ohio, will race at Baltimore (Sept. 1) and the Houston doubleheader (Oct. 5-6).
Hildebrand’s (pictured right, photo by LAT) got more laps at Sonoma than almost any other track on the IndyCar calendar and is keen to make his IndyCar return after a long layoff.
“Sonoma is where I got my racing start, so it’ll be great to have another new experience there with a new team, and one that I’ve heard nothing but great things about,” Hildebrand said in a team release. “The Sonoma racetrack is not only in my backyard, but Barracuda Networks’ also, so we’ll be working hard to make it a good one all around. I can’t wait to get started.”
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.