IndyCar Driver Review: Helio Castroneves

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With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

Over to you, runner-up Helio Castroneves

2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Helio Castroneves

  • Team: Team Penske
  • 2012: 4th Place, 2 Wins, 1 Pole
  • 2013: 2nd Place, 1 Win, 2 Poles, 5 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 16 Top-10, 239 Laps Led, 9.2 Avg. Start, 7.5 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: I get the sense that if Castroneves didn’t win the title this year, he won’t be able to. Everything was set up on a platter for him with myriad issues plaguing any and all of his rivals, and they didn’t strike him until Houston. That weekend will take the blame for the title loss but for as consistent as Castroneves was this year, which was admirable, there weren’t that many standout drives from the popular Brazilian. He scored only one top-five finish in the last 10 races after five in the first nine. In this field, you simply needed to not only gather points, but gather big points more than just a handful of times.

Estrada says: A recent INDYCAR release “caught up” with Castroneves, who said that he’s moved on from the 2013 season – going on to say that “last year was yesterday’s news.” For the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion, that’s probably for the best considering how his run to the championship fell apart in Houston. Maximizing what his car would give him on race day got him into the hunt and kept him there. But with Dixon’s second-half rampage, he simply needed more great days down the stretch instead of good ones. That didn’t happen, and as a result, Castroneves is still missing a series title.

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.