Sonoma flashback: Power puts crash behind him with 2010 win

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Will Power was making the most of what was then a part-time opportunity to drive for Team Penske when he sustained two fractured vertebrae and a concussion in an August 2009 practice crash at Sonoma Raceway.

The wreck with Nelson Philippe ended Power’s season and left him wondering if his chances of becoming a full-time IndyCar racer were gone. But team owner Roger Penske was pleased with Power’s efforts (a win at Edmonton and three podiums in six ’09 starts), and indeed brought the Aussie on full-time in 2010.

And when the IndyCars came back to Sonoma that year, Power dominated the field – leading 73 of 75 laps en route to what would be his fifth and final win of the year.

A full-course yellow with 10 laps remaining gave Scott Dixon one last shot to take down Power in the final circuits, but Power was able to hang on to the point and secure an emotionally sweet win by seven-tenths of a second.

“I tell you, at the end of 2008, I was almost ready to go home to Australia and race [V8 Supercars],” Power said after his win. “Had I not gotten this opportunity [with Penske], I never would have known what my potential was.”

Power has since established himself as a part of IndyCar’s nucleus in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. In the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons, he entered the final race of each of those campaigns with a chance to win the championship.

You can watch this year’s running of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma next Sunday, Aug. 25, at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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.