IndyCar Driver Review: Tony Kanaan

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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.

In 11th place, your 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion, Tony Kanaan…

2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Tony Kanaan

  • Team: KV Racing Technology – SH
  • 2012: 9th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 3rd
  • 2013: 11th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 4th, 4 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 7 Top-10, 79 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.7 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: The year qualifies as a success because of “TK’s” overdue, popular and totally deserved first Indianapolis 500 victory. And it’s a good thing he achieved that, because objectively, the other 18 races have to be viewed as mixed by comparison. TK has admitted the team focused more on its oval setup and it showed; on road or street courses, the team’s qualifying form was erratic and you never knew whether Kanaan would crack the Firestone Fast Six or not even make it out of Q1. He only posted two top-10 finishes on road and street courses (fourth at St. Petersburg, fifth at Toronto Race 1) in 13 races. On ovals meanwhile he remains one of the best, but there simply aren’t enough of them to compensate for a road/street points deficiency. A change of scenery will do him well even though he fought to “get the old band back together” at KV.

Estrada says: Kanaan’s win at the Indy 500 could go down as one of the most popular in the history of the storied race. But while the Brazilian was able to keep toward the front on the other ovals, he couldn’t do the same in many of the road/street events and that means trouble in this series. His qualifying on the twisty tracks was altogether poor (only three Firestone Fast Six berths in 13 RC/SC races) and that put him on the back foot way too often on race days. But now that he’s migrated from KVSH to Chip Ganassi Racing, you would think that an improvement in road/street performance is coming for Kanaan in 2014.

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.