Richard Childress Racing celebrates 45th ‘birthday’

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If you see Richard Childress this weekend at Michigan International Speedway, wish him happy birthday.

Actually, wish him happy birthday twice.

Childress turns 69 on September 21, but he’s celebrating a different kind of birthday this weekend: the 45th anniversary of the birth of his namesake Richard Childress Racing.

RCR opened up shop on this weekend in August 1969, just before Childress, then just 23-years-old, made his NASCAR debut as a race car driver on Sept. 14, 1969 at Talladega Superspeedway.

He would go on to make 285 starts as a driver before ending his driving career to become a full-time team owner.

And the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Although Childress never reached victory lane as a driver, he’s enjoyed 105 Sprint Cup wins as a team owner, as well as six career championships, all by the late Dale Earnhardt.

RCR also has earned 69 wins and four Nationwide Series championships (two by Kevin Harvick, one each by Clint Bowyer and grandson Austin Dillon), as well as 31 wins and two championships (Mike Skinner and Austin Dillon) in the Camping World Truck Series.

The team issued a media release commemorating the event, which read in-part:

“Over the next 45 days, RCR will showcase photographs, personal stories and interviews from those who have been with the organization throughout the years.

“Starting Sunday August 17, @RCRracing and http://www.rcrracing.com will feature daily throwbacks showcasing moments that shaped the motorsports organization. The content will also highlight the evolution of the team and technology to today’s drivers and those who call the shots each weekend at the track 45 years later.

“Fans will also be able to read stories from those who have been with the company from its inception, reliving multiple championships, wins and iconic races over the past 45 years.”

Fans can share their own favorite RCR highlights on Twitter at #RCR45.

Happy 45th birthday, RCR. You don’t look a day over 30.

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.