Kevin Harvick fastest in 1st Sprint Cup practice at Watkins Glen

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Kevin Harvick, a former winner at Watkins Glen International in his days with Richard Childress Racing, was fastest in today’s first of two practice sessions for the Sprint Cup Series on the New York State road course.

Harvick posted a lap of 68.652 seconds around the 2.4-mile circuit, which works out to an average speed of 128.474 mph inside the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet.

Following him was fellow Hendrick-powered driver Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports, who was second-fastest with a time of 68.992 seconds (127.841 mph).

Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski was third in the session (69.690/126.560), followed by A.J. Allmendinger (69.801/126.359) in fourth and Marcos Ambrose in fifth (69.803/126.356).

Multiple incidents took place during the first Cup practice, with most of them coming at or near the track’s right-hand Carousel turn.

Landon Cassill brought out a caution flag when he spun and backed into the wall there. Also spinning there but avoiding damage were Kyle Larson and Paul Menard.

Additionally, Alex Kennedy lost control of his car in the uphill esses but avoided contact with the blue barriers. Tony Stewart also spent some time in the garage getting a transmission change on his car.

Positions 6-10 in the practice session were filled by Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Pocono winner Dale Earnhardt Jr., and defending Cheez-It 355 winner Kyle Busch.

A second Cup practice is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Watkins Glen – Practice 1 Times

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.