Dixon leads, Pagenaud has accident during Wednesday Fontana test

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Verizon IndyCar Series teams had the opportunity to get several hours of running in during Wednesday’s test at Auto Club Speedway, which ran from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. in Fontana, Calif.

Scott Dixon led the charts with a best speed of 219.462 mph, one of four drivers over 219 at the 2.0-mile oval. It was difficult to gauge which drivers were able to post their best speeds unassisted or with a tow.

The other story that emerged Wednesday night was that championship contender Simon Pagenaud, who’s still alive but needs a minor miracle in order to catch and/or overtake the Team Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves, had a light accident leaving the pit lane late in the session.

Per RACER Magazine, which was on site during the session, Pagenaud lost control leaving pit lane and suffered some rear end damage, but nothing that isn’t fixable.

The three title contenders will be in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday at The Grove LA for an IndyCar Championship Event from noon til 2.

Meanwhile here’s the times from Wednesday night:

Results Wednesday from the Verizon IndyCar Series Open Test at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway.with position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed.

1. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8075, 219.462 mph
2. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8528, 219.159 mph
3. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8595, 219.115 mph
4. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 32.8692, 219.050 mph
5. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8773, 218.996 mph
6. (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 32.9059, 218.806 mph
7. (10) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.9191, 218.718 mph
8. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 32.9369, 218.600 mph
9. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.9725, 218.364 mph
10. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Dallara-Honda, 32.9819, 218.302 mph
11. (8) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.9907, 218.243 mph
12. (14) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 32.9912, 218.240 mph
13. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 33.0011, 218.175 mph
14. (17) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevrolet, 33.0950, 217.556 mph
15. (34) Carlos Munoz, Dallara-Honda, 33.1509, 217.189 mph
16. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 33.1580, 217.142 mph
17. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Chevrolet, 33.2117, 216.791 mph
18. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 33.2984, 216.227 mph
19. (19) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 33.3215, 216.077 mph
20. (98) Jack Hawksworth, Dallara-Honda, 33.4034, 215.547 mph
21. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevrolet, 33.4391, 215.317 mph
22. (18) Carlos Huertas, Dallara-Honda, 33.6346, 214.065 mph

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.