Richard Petty’s No. 43 car part of special Smithsonian list

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Richard Petty’s famous No. 43 stock car has been named as one of the “101 Objects That Made America” by Smithsonian Magazine, after a total of 137 million artifacts were sourced by the famous museum to come up with the final list.

The No. 43 that has earned this honor is a specific one – the No. 43 Pontiac Grand Prix that took Petty to his 200th NASCAR Sprint Cup victory on July 4, 1984 at Daytona International Speedway, an event that featured then-President Ronald Reagan among the attendees.

“I just think the fact that it’s the Smithsonian, and they had all these pieces of history or objects to look at, and they picked our car is what makes it special,” Petty said in a statement.

“That just made us feel pretty good that they include the car and mentioned a little about what we did. You look at everything on that list, it’s our history, and it’s humbling that they think we’re a part of that.”

The 101 objects are split into nine categories. Petty’s No. 43 car is among the objects in “Happiness,” which also features such things as the Barbie doll, the teddy bear, and the guitar of rock and roll legend Chuck Berry.

In an essay, Jeff MacGregor declares Petty and the car as icons that bridged the sport’s various generations.

“This race car and that racer and that 1984 race bridged the years from NASCAR’s moonshine and red-dirt beginnings to its cork-lined helmet and bathing-beauty days to the clean-shaven, two-terabyte matinee idol brand strategy the sport has lately become,” he writes.

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.