Michigan International Speedway names first 8 members of Youth Fan Advisory Board

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NASCAR knows that youth are its future, where new fans and new drivers will come from. That’s why the sanctioning body has become so proactive in trying to attract more youthful fans.

Borrowing a page from NASCAR’s playbook, Michigan International Speedway is doing the same.

While MIS and several other tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit have fan advisory boards or panels that are made up of adults, MIS is taking things a little further, announcing on Thursday the first eight members of its Youth Fan Advisory Board.

It’s the real deal: track officials will solicit input from the YFAB’s eight teen members from the Midwest and Canada to assist in future planning for the track.

“Engaging and attracting youth is critical for NASCAR, our sport and MIS,” MIS president Roger Curtis said in a statement. “We want to learn what and how to do more for the young race fans who come to our events.

“It is important to us that we maintain an open line of communication with all our guests; guests of all ages, as we strive to make their trip to the track memorable each time. The Youth FAB allows us to talk with youth and gather ideas to improve their fan experience.”

The eight YFAB members are: Daniel Bell, 16 years old, Meadville, Pa.; Katie Browning and Andrew Gillon, both 14 and both from Wyandotte, Mich.,; Kathleen Cassidy, 18, Gulford, Ontario, Canada; Nick Molina, 17, Troy, Mo.; Adam Oelrichs, 14, Sterling, Ill.; Veronica Shoemaker, 16, Livonia, Mich. and Chase Winter, 15, Cass City, Mich.

“I was interested in the Youth Fan Advisory Board just for the fact how much MIS gets involved with fans and how they always give back,” Cassidy said. “I wanted to be part of that and not only make a difference for youth, but fans in general who come to the track.”

Cassidy has been coming to the track for 11 years, with her most memorable moment coming last year.

“My favorite memory was last year when Roger (MIS President Roger Curtis) stopped in our campsite and he gave me a Fan Appreciation gift to follow an MRN (Motor Racing Network) reporter for the Sunday race,” she said. “I got to interview my favorite driver, which is Brad Keselowski.”

Gillon looks forward to making youngsters and teens new fans of MIS.

“The Youth FAB is interesting and it is a good opportunity for kids our age to help MIS out,” he said. “Plus, we can have a fun time with it. I am really looking forward to helping MIS get better as a track and make it better than it already is.”

The Youth Fan Advisory Board is patterned after the track’s adult Fan Advisory Board, which began in 2008.

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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.