Dario Franchitti begins writing the next chapter of his career at Indianapolis (video)

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TV interviews can oftentimes be a dime-a-dozen, but we really were captivated by Indianapolis station WRTV’s interview of four-time IndyCar champ and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti on Thursday.

Having suffered near-fatal injuries in a crash last October at Houston that prompted his immediate retirement from open-wheel racing, Franchitti will be missing from the starting grid at Indy for only the second time in more than a decade.

But WRTV does an excellent job of telling not only the back story of Franchitti’s career, as well as the next chapter as a coach and consultant to Target Chip Ganassi Racing, particularly for his hand-picked replacement to succeed him in the No. 10 car, defending Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan.

One of the best lines in the interview is when Franchitti tries to put into context the fact that he’s at Indianapolis for the first time since 2002 (with the exception of his brief foray into NASCAR in 2008) as an observer rather than a driver.

“Fun? Yes. Bizarre? In some ways, yes. Bittersweet? Absolutely,” said Franchitti, who turns 41 on May 19.

Another intriguing part of the interview was the viciousness of his crash at Houston. The WRTV report included both professional and amateur footage of the horrendous wreck that left Franchitti with two broken vertebrae, a broken right ankle and the third major concussion of his career.

As a result, his doctors told him almost immediately that while he’d walk again, he’d never race again, the toughest pill for Franchitti to swallow as he recuperated in the hospital.

Even more so, what is particularly frightening about the Houston crash is the amnesia that Franchitti suffered.

“I didn’t know that because I don’t remember anything,” Franchitti told WRTV’s Dave Furst. “I lost five weeks, I think two weeks before and three weeks after, nothing. It’s not going to come back. I went to my buddy Albert’s wedding in Portland (a few weeks before Houston) and that’s the last thing I remember.”

Click here to check out the Franchitti video. Great job and great storytelling by Furst and the WRTV crew.

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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.