Jeff Gordon: Excited not just for Kansas, but rest of the season

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It took an 11th – or 13th – hour adjustment to get Jeff Gordon into the 2013 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, but given he and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports’ team’s success this season, it’s only a matter of time before he eventually breaks through for his first win of the year.

The series points leader has starred throughout most of the year, but late-race bad luck has cost him shots at at least two races.

Heading into Kansas this weekend, where Gordon won the track’s first two races in 2001 and 2002, Gordon’s optimistic.

“I’m excited to get there and see what the track has to offer, as well as how the new ride heights and downforce will play out this year,” he said in a Wednesday teleconference. “We’ve excelled at a lot of tracks. Kansas has always been one of my favorites, although it moved further down on the repave, but it ages, go through the winter and gets back to the Kansas. The transitions are still there. The variable banking is always a plus.”

Gordon, who continues to search for his elusive fifth championship, added that this has been one of the best starts he’s ever had to a season.

“I know that time is running short, but I’m not concerned about it,” he said. “I have accomplished more than I ever thought. We have such a great race car and race team this year. We’re off to a great start. We’re healthy, and in good shape.”

“What I’m excited about is that we have such a great race team. We’ve had such competitive cars. Some we unload and we’re fast, others we really have to work at it.”

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.