NBCSN IndyCar updates: Sonoma most-watched of 2013, plus Baltimore times

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The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma was NBCSN’s most-watched IndyCar race of 2013, with a 27 percent increase in viewership over 2012. Media reporter John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal said that number was 391,000 viewers.

This weekend, the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT will be live on NBCSN Sunday at 2 p.m. EST. Qualifying airs Saturday at 6 p.m. EST, and the Firestone Indy Lights race will air after the IndyCar race on Sunday at 5 p.m. EST.

Will Power (Penske) earned his first win of the 2013 season last weekend at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, and will look to continue that success at Baltimore where he took the checkered flag in 2011. Helio Castroneves (Penske) maintains his lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series Points Standings over Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi), who was poised to gain ground at the Grand Prix of Sonoma, but finished 15th after a pit safety infraction late in the race. Ryan Hunter-Reay(Andretti) currently sits third in the IZOD IndyCar Series Points Standings and won at Baltimore last year.

NBC Sports Group’s IndyCar play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey will call the Grand Prix of Baltimore. Diffey will be joined in the booth this week by former drivers Townsend Bell and Wally Dallenbach. Reporters Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee, Marty Snider and Robin Miller will manage the pits.

I’ll be on the ground for MotorSportsTalk once again, for my ninth of 14 IndyCar weekends (including the Detroit and Toronto doubleheaders) this season.

The full release of the more than 15 hours of motorsports coverage on NBCSN this weekend can be found from the NBC Sports Group Press Box website, linked here. Times are below:

Date Coverage Network Time (ET)
Thur., August 29 Auctions America NBCSN 8 p.m.
Fri., August 30 ARCA Herr’s Live Life With Flavor 200 NBCSN 12 a.m.
Auctions America NBCSN 8 p.m.
Sat., August 31 Auctions America NBCSN 12:30 p.m.
Grand Prix of Baltimore – Qualifying NBCSN 6 p.m.
Sun., September 1 Grand Prix of Baltimore NBCSN 2 p.m.
Firestone Indy Lights Baltimore NBCSN 5 p.m.

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.