Chevy works through program on first test day of 2014 IndyCar season

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Ten Chevrolet drivers put in the first major running of the 2014 IndyCar Series season with a one-day manufacturer’s test Friday at Sebring International Raceway’s short course.

Chevrolet’s IndyCar program manager, Chris Berube, outlined some of the goals the manufacturer is working on as it seeks its third straight Manufacturer’s Championship in 2014.

“The IndyCar engine homologation table allowed a fairly significant amount of change to the engine for 2014, including new turbochargers and fuel system revisions,” Berube said in a Chevrolet manufacturer release. “Work on all of that started last year and this first track test is an exciting yet anxious time for the engineers that toiled over and tortured the new bits to push the performance level up while maintaining the competitive advantage in reliability Chevrolet has had in 2012 and 2013.

“The engine change-out mileage increases from 2,000 to 2,500 miles in 2014 so achieving a 25 percent increase in life simultaneously with a performance increase is the holy grail of engineering development.”

Most of the Team Penske testing this offseason has focused on Juan Pablo Montoya as he reacclimatizes back to IndyCar after a several-year hiatus. Meanwhile teammate Will Power, who ended 2013 on a roll with three wins in the last five races, described the process of working through the first test of the year.

“Obviously we have the 2014 spec of the engine so just going through a few teething problems so we didn’t get that much running this morning,” Power said. “It is the first test of the year, I get (to) run with Helio (Castroneves) and Juan (Pablo Montoya) and I think it will be a good year. I think we’ve all got pretty good feedback and work together to get a better car.”

Montoya said he was struggling a bit with the balance while Castroneves thanked Chevrolet for the improvements, and praised the team’s ability to gather feedback and data for all three cars.

Besides the Penske trio, Chip Ganassi Racing’s quartet (Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Briscoe, Charlie Kimball), single-car entries from KVSH Racing (Sebastien Bourdais), Ed Carpenter Racing (Mike Conway) and Panther Racing (Carlos Huertas) also tested on Friday. A.J. Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato was the only Honda runner.

Further Chevy-only tests will occur in February at Auto Club Speedway, in Fontana and Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

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.