IndyCar notes: Potential Indy 500 deals are brewing

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From those at Sebring, there’s actually been a fair bit of potential IndyCar nuggets that have emerged this week:

  • Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull told MotorSportsTalk on Wednesday that a fifth car for the Indianapolis 500 is possible, but if it comes together it would likely be late.
  • On a somewhat related note, 2013 Indy Lights champion Sage Karam also said he has not shut the door to IndyCar opportunities, as he makes his second TUDOR United SportsCar Championship start this weekend with CGR. It would not be a surprise to see Karam appear somewhere on the IndyCar grid in the month of May, as he and his management team continue to work to put at least a partial open-wheel program together.
  • At least one other Chevrolet-powered team that has not announced an extra Indianapolis-only entry yet appears close to a deal with one Indy 500 veteran.
  • A significant number of Panther Racing’s crew members have been released to explore other opportunities; some have opted to shift into sports car racing. Panther has not formalized its 2014 IndyCar plans.

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.