Jeff Gordon: We can beat Keselowski this weekend

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Brad Keselowski has the early advantage in the Chase for the Sprint Cup following his win last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, and it would seem he’ll be a threat to win again in New Hampshire.

But Jeff Gordon, expected by many to play a role in the outcome of this year’s Chase, believes that he and his team can keep Keselowski and his “Blanco Deuce” from reaching Victory Lane for a third consecutive week.

“As a team, we definitely have what it takes to beat him,” Gordon said today at Loudon. “I think we’ve got a little work to do on the car, to make the car perform at a level to beat him. They’re going to be really good – don’t get me wrong. We knew coming in here, that’s no surprise.

“…Again, this is New Hampshire, this is not Phoenix, this is not Homestead. You’ve got to get all that you can out of it every single weekend, and under this new format, you can approach things differently looking at your strong races, strong portions of the race, your strengths as a team, and go try to attack those things and take advantage of them.

“Right now, do we have the best car out there? I’m not so sure that we do. But is our team strong enough to win this race? Absolutely.”

Gordon was in position to challenge Keselowski for a win in July at New Hampshire, only to run out of fuel during the lead-up to the green-white-checkered restart. He’s certainly hoping for a better result this time around.

And a win for Gordon would not only have him join Keselowski in the Contender Round of the Chase, but would also lead to a new NASCAR record; as noted earlier, New Hampshire’s had 13 different winners in its last 13 Cup races, which puts it in a tie with Texas for the all-time mark.

It seems somewhat surprising, but Gordon isn’t among those 13 different N.H. winners. In fact, he hasn’t won at this track since 1998.

When asked about what’s contributed to the streak, Gordon singled out “hard work” by the teams and the array of different pit strategies that always plays out on the Magic Mile.

“I think there is very little consistency in the trends here as to how this race finishes,” he said on the subject. “And I think that in itself can contribute to different teams and drivers being a factor or being in position to be in the right place at the right time to get that win.

“I’m kind of surprised by that stat. I’m almost encouraged by that stat because it tells me that a lot of different cars and teams and drivers can win at this track at any time. That’s why you never give up. That’s why you fight all the way to the checkered flag.”

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.