Pole-sitter McMurray leads halfway in Sprint Cup race at Sonoma

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Pole-sitter Jamie McMurray is the leader at halfway of Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

Jeff Gordon, who leads all drivers at Sonoma with five career wins there, is running second, followed by Kevin Harvick in third.

AJ Allmendinger has dominated much of the first half of Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, but has fallen back to fourth position.

Allmendinger had led 37 of the first 55 laps in the 110-lap event.

Allmendinger, who is seeking the first career Sprint Cup win for both himself and JTG-Daugherty Racing, led the first 21 laps before yielding the lead to Harvick.

But Allmendinger rallied back to regain the front of the pack spot several laps later.

Michael Waltrip Racing is seeking its third consecutive win at Sonoma, with Clint Bowyer winning there in 2012 and Martin Truex Jr. (now with Furniture Row Racing) doing so in last year’s race.

Bowyer was fifth at halfway, followed by Kurt Busch and rookie Kyle Larson, who won the K&N race on Saturday at Sonoma, was running seventh.

Marcos Ambrose, favored by many to win the race, is running eighth.

Brad Keselowski got spun early when he pulled in front of Kyle Busch, but admitted over his team radio that it was he who made a mistake and had no issue with Busch.

Speaking of Team Penske, Keselowski complained over the team radio early about the setup on his Ford Fusion, prompting crew chief Paul Wolfe to get exasperated and tell his driver that the only way to fix the issue would be to bring the car into the garage.

Casey Mears is having handling issues after the front end of his car was crunched after being hit from behind by Clint Bowyer and pushed into the back of another car.

On Lap 31, Landon Cassill – the only driver to do the weekend double (raced Saturday in the Nationwide Series race at Road America and then in Sunday’s Cup event at Sonoma) – lost his motor, bringing out a full course caution.

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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.