Jeb Burton gets another trucks start at Martinsville for ThorSport

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After finishing seventh in the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway, Jeb Burton will be back behind the wheel for ThorSport Racing later this month at Martinsville.

Burton, who finished  an impressive fifth in his first full season on the trucks series last season, unexpectedly lost his ride with Turner Scott Motorsports for 2014 when his team folded due to sponsorship withdrawal just six weeks before the start of the season.

But ThorSport threw the son of 2002 Daytona 500 champ and nephew of Sprint Car driver/NBC NASCAR analyst Jeff Burton a lifeline for Daytona, and he made the most of his opportunity with a strong showing with little preparation.

That performance convinced team owners Duke and Rhonda Thorson to bring Burton back for the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29.

“ThorSport has given me a great opportunity and I appreciate everything they have done for me and my family,” Burton said. “Now we just need to keep running good.”

Burton earned his first Camping World Trucks race at Texas last spring and also won a season-high seven poles.

Martinsville was particularly good for him last season, as he finished third in both races there. He’s looking forward to returning there with new teammates Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton, who finished 1-2 in last year’s spring race at Martinsville, with Burton finishing third.

“ThorSport has a really good team for this track,” Burton said. “Looking at the stats from last year, Johnny won this race, Matt finished second and I was third. Those are my teammates. I think I can learn from them.

“(Martinsville) is a short track and that’s one of my strengths. That has to help me, too.”

To do as well as he did last month at Daytona with limited testing and practice says a lot about Burton and his ability.

“We were really impressed with Jeb, his ability to mesh with the team and the way he worked his way through that first race and had a respectable finish, which isn’t easy at Daytona,” ThorSport team manager David Pepper said. “We hope we can continue to build on the excitement Jeb and our team created at Daytona because we really need to get more support to continue racing this Tundra.”

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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.