Conway, Bourdais, Huertas work through day at Sebring

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Last week’s IndyCar test at Sebring featured 10 Chevrolet drivers, and while we hit the Ganassi and Penske contingents, they weren’t alone as part of the manufacturer’s group on hand at the short course.

With his initial test now out of the way at Ed Carpenter Racing, Mike Conway was able to push a bit more in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka entry. Conway is adjusting to a Chevrolet after campaigning a Honda powerplant in his seven 2013 races with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Dale Coyne Racing.

“We got a lot of work done, but then coming here for this one, and with the 2014 specs applies to the engine, there is a lot of stuff to get through,” Conway explained. “New for everybody so there are going to be changes all day to get it right and in the sweet spot. So far so good I’m pretty impressed with the power band and I think definitely an improvement from last year.”

Meanwhile at KVSH Racing, Sebastien Bourdais and the team discovered different issues compared to when they first ran together in November.

“It was an interesting day very different conditions than we had last time,” the Frenchman said. “Last time was really windy but the grip on the track was much higher so we discovered very different issues with the car. We have been fighting the car balance pretty big and then this morning we used the introduction of the new engine. We took it pretty easy so once we got going and discovered the problems we didn’t have so much time left and that was a bit of a crash course.”

Carlos Huertas, a Colombian testing for Panther Racing for the first time, fought through electrical gremlins on his first day in an IndyCar.

“It’s going okay, just getting used to the car is very different to what I’m used to in Europe,” said Huertas, who raced in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2013. “It went well on used tires and then on new tires just didn’t make the right changes. It didn’t improve as much as I wanted, but just in general (I was just) getting used to the way the engine with the turbo works and stuff like that.”

Bourdais is in action this week for Action Express Racing as part of the Rolex 24 at Daytona; Conway, a Toyota reserve driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship, will have that and the road and street races to look forward to this year; Huertas was in Sebring for his first test, but no word has been given by the Panther team regarding his status for any future outings.

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.