Karam could end up in Ganassi development program

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Sage Karam, the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights Series champion, is still unsure of his official plans for the rest of 2014 beyond his appearance with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

But the potential exists, per the Associated Press, he could have a full-season opportunity with CGR for the remainder of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Ganassi team president Steve Lauletta told the AP’s Jenna Fryer “we’re close” to a second Ford EcoBoost Riley for Karam and Marino Franchitti.

Franchitti’s in the same boat, where his sports car status for the rest of 2014 is yet to be determined beyond Daytona. Franchitti raced the 2013 American Le Mans Series season with Level 5 Motorsports in one of that team’s HPD P2 cars.

As for Karam, a part-time opportunity with Ganassi could be better than a full-time opportunity elsewhere.

With the number of available full-time seats in IndyCar shrinking, and most requiring several million dollars to bring to a seat, Karam could be molded into part of a development program.

Those anoraks who have followed Ganassi’s history might remember the name Alex Lloyd, when it comes to a development program with the team.

Lloyd was as much a victim of timing as anything else, despite his prodigious talent.

He stormed through the 2007 Indy Lights series en route to the title, but was unable to make the full-time jump into IndyCar in 2008 with few seats available to begin with. Additionally, that was the year Champ Car folded into IndyCar, and several teams came in from the opposing series.

Lloyd was signed to a development contract with CGR, but his only race opportunity came in a jointly entered CGR-Rahal Letterman Racing Honda at the Indianapolis 500, as a teammate to Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Come the fall of 2008, Dario Franchitti was named as a replacement for Dan Wheldon in the No. 10 Target car for 2009, and Lloyd’s shot at one of IndyCar’s prime seats had passed.

Lloyd did what he could over the next three years, including winning the 2010 IndyCar series rookie-of-the-year honors and posting a fourth place finish at the Indianapolis 500 in a Dale Coyne Racing entry. But the commercial realities of the sport have sidelined Lloyd since the end of 2011.

He now is an editor-at-large for Yahoo! Autos; those who watched him coming through the ranks are no doubt frustrated he never got a true top-line opportunity in IndyCar.

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.