Today’s special edition of NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN brought together the best sights and sounds from the first four races of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.
The year began with a water-logged Daytona 500 that ultimately ended under the lights. When the race finally saw the checkered flag, it was Dale Earnhardt Jr. that lifted the Harley J. Earl Trophy for a second time.
After the pomp and pageantry of Daytona, the grind truly began at Phoenix International Raceway the next week. Phoenix saw the debut of NASCAR’s new knockout-style qualifying format, and in the race, Kevin Harvick dominated the proceedings to win in his second start for Stewart-Haas Racing.
The scene then shifted to Las Vegas for the series’ first race of the year on an intermediate oval. Earnhardt tried to claim his second win of the season while saving fuel in the final laps, but on the last lap, he ran dry – giving the win to Brad Keselowski, who happily punched his ticket to the Chase after missing it last season.
Then came Bristol, which had been met with initial trepidation due to how the knockout qualifying would work on such a small track. The issue of having to run slow laps on the track during qualifying in order to cool engines was settled when NASCAR allowed the teams to use cool down units in the pits.
Like Daytona, this race was extended into prime time thanks to persistent rains. Carl Edwards would reign supreme, even managing to stick the landing on his celebratory backflip as another shower heralded the end of the race.
For more clips from NASCAR AMERICA, be sure to check out the show’s archive page.
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.