Kyle Busch was in the news on Wednesday for all the wrong reasons, as he received a citation for speeding.
The news for “Shrub” doesn’t get much better this weekend in terms of his day job: it’s the first time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway this year, and it’s been Busch’s personal house of horrors since his first start at the track in October of 2004.
In 13 starts, Busch has an average start of 16.5 and an average finish of 23.3. Yet that finish would be a step forward by nearly 10 positions after his last three races at the track, where he has crashed out of all three and ended 31st, 38th, and most recently, 34th last fall. He’s on record as saying he’s not a fan of the track’s new variable banking, either.
Additionally, he also had a dust-up with Brad Keselowski in last fall’s Nationwide race at Kansas; Brad K will be under the microscope this weekend as well after his involvement in the big Talladega crash last weekend.
Busch’s best run at the track came way back in 2006, when he led 64 laps and finished seventh; that’s one of only two top-10 finishes he’s posted there.
A good run this weekend won’t erase the past demons, but it would put the spotlight on something other than his on-track disasters and off-track incident that will otherwise be talking points.
The bright side for Busch going into the weekend is that he already has a win this season (Auto Club Speedway), so yet another poor run in Kansas won’t be detrimental to his Chase chances. A poor run in Kansas this fall, however, would.
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.