Will Kimmel to attempt Nationwide-ARCA doubleheader Saturday

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JOLIET, Ill. — Will Kimmel is going to be a very busy man Saturday.

Kimmel is scheduled to race in Saturday’s Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in suburban Chicago. The race begins at 3:45 pm ET.

But while most of his competitors will call it a day once the checkered flag drops, Kimmel’s day will just be half over.

He’ll catch a flight and jet down to Salem, Ind. — a distance of about 275 air miles — and land on a little airstrip (with the bigger-sounding name of Salem Municipal Airport) adjacent to turns one and two of Salem Speedway for Saturday night’s Federated Car Care Fall Classic. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 7:15 pm ET, although ARCA officials may give Kimmel a little wiggle room to get into his car so the race can start.

“I’ll just go as fast as I can when the race starts and hope it gets done early,” said Kimmel, who will drive for TriStar Motorsports in the Nationwide event. “As soon as it’s over, I’ll come out of the car, change on the way to the airport and get in a plane that’s running and ready when we get there.”

Then, as Kimmel said so succinctly, it’ll be “hammer down” en route to Salem.

Veteran ARCA driver Chris Bailey will practice Kimmel’s ride there and keep the seat warm until Kimmel arrives. If the Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland goes long, Bailey may also have to start the race for Kimmel.

Bailey is scheduled to qualify Kimmel’s ARCA ride and could start in his qualified position if that occurs. However, if Kimmel arrives before the green flag, he’ll have to start from the back of the field.

“If we make it back in time, we’ll be good,” Kimmel said. “I really think we’ve got a good shot to win it. … We’ve just gotta get there.”

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.