Obligatory “Baltimore Oriol” references will continue with Servia at Panther

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Let’s be honest. We couldn’t, really, have had a Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT without Oriol Servia.

Confirmation of the Catalan’s latest start in the revolving door that is the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet for this weekend’s IZOD IndyCar Series race came Wednesday morning. He’s set to finish out the 2013 season, as well, in Houston and Fontana.

Servia, whose first name doubles as the mascot for the baseball team – if one letter different – finished second with Newman/Haas Racing in the inaugural Baltimore race in 2011, and was seventh in the Panther DRR No. 22 Chevrolet a year ago.

“King of diversity,” was Servia’s reply back to me on Twitter earlier this morning.

Also of note for the team, Panther put out its latest “Inside Track” video on Wednesday. It recaps the team’s last 2013 weekend with Ryan Briscoe, who will miss the remaining IndyCar rounds due to his American Le Mans Series commitments with Level 5 Motorsports.

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.