RGIII making pre-race rounds at Richmond (PHOTOS)

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Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III appears to be enjoying himself at Richmond International Raceway ahead of tonight’s Toyota Owners 400 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

RGIII will serve as the honorary pace car driver for tonight’s 400-lap event at the 3/4-mile oval. His good friend, Sprint Cup superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr., had lobbied for Griffin to be named to the post earlier this month.

In a press conference this afternoon at RIR, Griffin talked about how his friendship with Earnhardt began and noted how they both have to deal with plenty of pressure as famous athletes.

“We kind of understand where each other is coming from,” Griffin said. “I’m a younger guy. I’m 24. I have a lot to learn in this process.

“The more guys you can link up with and talk to about these kinds of experiences, the ups and downs, the highs and lows and the great success — that is a true benefit to anybody.”

In addition to speaking with the press, Griffin also took a pre-race tour of the Cup garage and met up with several major NASCAR personalities.

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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.