WATCH LIVE: NASCAR America at 5 pm ET — Allmendinger, Bowyer, Rudd on road courses; NASCAR California history

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On Friday’s edition of NASCAR America, Leigh Diffey and Ricky Rudd take us into the weekend’s racing action from our Charlotte studios.

With Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway and Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Road America in Wisconsin, you couldn’t get a better road course expert to break down the nuances of turning left and right better than Rudd, a six-time road course winner during his lengthy career.

Rudd breaks down the attitude and instincts necessary to win on a road course, as well as what drivers must do differently than what they normally do on oval tracks.

Also on Friday’s show:

* Kelli Stavast reports from Sonoma Raceway, where she’ll chat with two drivers who have had past success on road courses: AJ Allmendinger (2 Nationwide Series road-course wins) and 2012 Sonoma winner Clint Bowyer.

* Continuing our State by State series, the legendary Eli Gold takes us through the history of racing in California, The Golden State.

Watch today’s episode at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN, but in case you can’t be near a TV, you can CLICK HERE to stream it online or on your mobile device with NBC Sports Live Extra.

If you plan to stream, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified. Once you plug those pieces of information in, you’ll have access to the stream.

Again, CLICK HERE at 5 p.m. ET to watch NBCSN’s NASCAR AMERICA.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

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.