Sprint Cup regular Kevin Harvick out-hustled a pair of drivers from the surging Richard Childress Racing camp in the final practice session for tonight’s NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Kentucky Speedway.
Harvick, making his eighth Nationwide start of the year for JR Motorsports, posted a lap of 176.910 miles per hour in the No. 5 Chevrolet after running seventh in last night’s Nationwide practice.
Second was RCR rookie Ty Dillon with his lap of 176.667 mph in the No. 3 Chevy and in third was teammate/Cup driver Paul Menard (176.580). Menard won his most recent Nationwide start two weeks ago at Michigan.
Two Roush Fenway Racing competitors, Trevor Bayne (175.896) and rookie Ryan Reed (175.735), were fourth and fifth this morning respectively.
Brad Keselowski, Road America winner Brendan Gaughan, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson and Elliott Sadler completed the Top 10. Kyle Busch, who led the aforementioned practice last night, was 11th-fastest this morning, while current series points leader Regan Smith was 13th.
Qualifying will take place at 3:40 p.m. ET, followed by the 300-mile main event tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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.