Detroit Update: Helio leads in another race of dueling strategies

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Helio Castroneves came out ahead of Mike Conway after a cycle of green-flag stops and led at halfway of Race 2 of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park.

Today’s race got off to a rocky start with an aborted rolling start and then two cautions within the first 10 laps. On the opening lap, Will Power went to the inside of Josef Newgarden at Turn 3 and made contact with the American, sending him into the barrier while collecting Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson.

Newgarden, Rahal and Wilson would continue on, while Power decided to pit under the yellow. However, Verizon IndyCar Series Race Control opted to hit him with a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

Then on Lap 10, Sebastian Saavedra brought out Caution No. 2 by hitting the barrier coming out of Turn 6. He would come to a stop on the backstretch with major front-end damage.

Race leader and pole sitter Takuma Sato was among several that chose to pit under this particular caution, handing the lead to James Hinchcliffe. With the field once again split into multiple strategies as they did yesterday, the race returned to green conditions at Lap 15.

Conway, who was the only driver to start the race on the primary Firestone “black” tires, proceeded to hound Hinchcliffe for several laps before he finally put the Canadian behind him for P1 at Lap 21.

Hinchcliffe promptly pitted, and Conway then built up a massive gap to his pursuers as he tried to help himself prior to going in for his own first stop.

By the time he made that stop at Lap 25, Conway had pushed his lead to more than 11 seconds, bringing back memories of his Belle Isle beatdown in last year’s Race 1. That gave the lead to, of all people, Power, who held it until his second stop at Lap 27.

Mikhail Aleshin inherited the lead from the Australian briefly before he too pitted and Castroneves moved up to the front. He and Sato pitted together on Lap 32 and Jack Hawksworth did the same on the next lap, which put Castroneves back in control of the proceedings.

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.