Kevin Harvick is halfway leader in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas

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Leading the field at the halfway point of  Sunday’s 267-lap Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, last week’s race winner at Phoenix, Kevin Harvick, is looking to make it two wins in a row.

Coming up one spot short of victory in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway must have lit a fire under Kyle Busch, as the younger Busch brother led 51 laps before surrendering the lead to Harvick just four laps before halfway.

Pole-sitter Joey Logano led the field to the green and led 44 of the first 100 laps of the scheduled 267-lap event on the progressively-banked 1.5-mile racetrack. Logano was running 11th at halfway.

Four-time Las Vegas race-winner and defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson eventually found his way to the front and led 30 laps before surrendering his advantage to Kyle Busch. Johnson was third at the halfway mark before pitting for fuel and four tires a few laps past halfway.

Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued his strong start to the 2014 season, coming in fourth at the halfway mark.

Brad Keselowski, who started on the outside pole alongside Penske Racing teammate Logano, rarely strayed far from the top five and appeared headed to a third consecutive strong finish, sitting sixth at halfway.

Last year’s race winner at Las Vegas, Matt Kenseth, seemed content to remain in the top 10, running ninth at the midpoint, perhaps saving a final kick for the final laps.

Others in the top 10 at halfway included Jeff Gordon (fifth), Martin Truex Jr. (seventh),  Paul Menard (eighth) and Denny Hamlin (10th).

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises – and not in a good way – was the performance of Tony Stewart, who fell to 32nd position after the first 100 laps. Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch, who hails from Las Vegas but counts its racetrack as his worst-performing facility on the Sprint Cup circuit, was ranked 22nd at halfway, while Danica Patrick was running 28th.

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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.