New Cup champ Johnson visits ‘The Dan Patrick Show’ (VIDEO)

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Fresh off of claiming his sixth Sprint Cup championship, a somewhat sleep-deprived Jimmie Johnson began his whirlwind media tour through New York City with a stop this morning on DirecTV and NBCSN’s “The Dan Patrick Show.”

Johnson, who won the title by 19 points over Matt Kenseth thanks to a ninth-place finish in Sunday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, indicated to Patrick that he was still in shock over his latest Cup crown – a thought that he tried hard not to think about as the season headed for its conclusion.

“It’s been a wild ride,” Johnson said. “I can’t believe it’s happened. For months, I’ve pushed this notion out of my mind and didn’t want to let it in, and now, I’ve got to open up my mind and let it in.”

With his sixth title in hand, the Hendrick Motorsports driver is now just one title away from equaling seven-time Cup champions Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.

Last night at Homestead, Johnson tried to stay out of the conversation over who is the best NASCAR driver of all time and said that the argument would truly begin when he hung up his helmet.

This morning, he continued to take that tack in his conversation with Patrick while additionally noting that he doesn’t know how he would’ve fared head-to-head against Petty and Earnhardt in their respective eras.

“They’re both extremely talented and dominated their eras and time,” Johnson said of The King and The Intimidator.

But in addition to being part of that racing-centric debate, Johnson and his achievements are now being stacked up against decorated champions from other sports, such as Michael Jordan in basketball and Joe Montana in football.

When Patrick asked Johnson about how his domination in racing compares to his stick-and-ball counterparts, Johnson chose to look at the similarities between the two sides.

“There are some elements that are similar but are hard to see,” Johnson said. “We do have that one-on-one battle that takes place between drivers on track, and there are things we can definitely do in the race car from a little physical contact, just getting into someone’s head and racing them real hard in getting by.

“But in the end, the win total is really what does it and also, those championships. There are some similarities if you dig in and think about it some. It’s there for sure.”

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.