Mario Andretti one of three to go into NMPA Hall in January

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Mario Andretti, the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 and Formula One World Championship, will be adding one more accolade this coming January when he goes into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame.

Andretti (pictured) is one of three prominent racing figures that make up the 2014 class for the NMPA Hall. Joining him will be former NASCAR crew chief Ray Evernham and longtime motorsports journalist and publisher Steve Waid. The ceremony will take place Jan. 25, 2014 in Concord, North Carolina.

Naturally, Andretti, who also claimed four IndyCar championships (three under USAC sanction, one under CART), is the headliner of this group and he deserves to be so. But Evernham and Waid also made their own important impacts upon American racing.

Many NASCAR fans remember Evernham as the crew chief for Jeff Gordon back in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team’s days as the “Rainbow Warriors.” Together, Evernham and Gordon brought home three Sprint Cup championships and 47 Sprint Cup race wins.

Evernham also played a pivotal role in bringing Dodge back to NASCAR at the turn of the millennium, fielding cars as a team owner for drivers such as former Cup champion Bill Elliott and a then-rising star by the name of Kasey Kahne.

The Evernham Motorsports outfit earned 13 Cup victories before former Liverpool FC owner George Gillett bought a controlling interest in the team in 2007 to create Gillett Evernham Motorsports. GEM eventually merged with Petty Enterprises in 2009 to bring about the current Richard Petty Motorsports.

As for Waid, he has covered NASCAR in various capacities over the last four decades. Starting out as a newspaper writer, he eventually moved to Grand National Scene, where he would rise to the role of publisher.

He is an award-winning journalist, having won the NMPA’s own George Cunningham Award and the Henry T. McLemore Award for outstanding lifetime achievement in motorsports journalism.

The NMPA Hall of Fame is based at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina.

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.