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.
P19 and second place in Detroit Race 2, here’s James Jakes…
2013 SEASON PREVIEW
- Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
- 2012: 22nd Place, Best Finish 8th, Best Start 12th
- 2013: 19th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 2nd, 1 Podium, 1 Top-5, 3 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 14.2 Avg. Start, 15.8 Avg. Finish
DiZinno says: Results do not tell the tale of how much James Jakes improved in his third season of IndyCar, and first at RLL Racing. Jakes outqualified Graham Rahal 11-8, made the Firestone Fast Six three times while Rahal made it zero, and finished only 25 points in arrears despite several mechanical DNFs. The biggest change was he actually stood out on occasion instead of simply blending into the scenery, and it improved his stock for 2014 and beyond.
Estrada says: For the first time in his IndyCar career, Jakes showed signs of breaking out from mid-pack anonymity. The British driver was especially impressive at the Belle Isle doubleheader in June, where he put up back-to-back Top-3 starts and converted the second of those into his first-ever IndyCar podium finish. It may have been a down year altogether for RLL, but at least Jakes was able to hold his own against teammate Graham Rahal and show that he’s worthy of his spot in the paddock. Let’s see if he can keep rising.
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.