Brad Keselowski: New Chase format “lends itself to inconsistency”

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Brad Keselowski opened the Chase for the Sprint Cup with a win at Chicagoland Speedway that moved him through to the Contender Round. He then closed the Challenger Round with a seventh at Loudon and a runner-up at Dover.

Since then, the 2012 Sprint Cup champion’s been on a roller-coaster ride.

A tire failure and crash at Kansas plus a 16th-place finish (and one post-race fight) at Charlotte put him on the verge of elimination. Then he won the Contender Round finale at Talladega to advance into the current Eliminator Round.

Sunday’s Eliminator opener at Martinsville saw Keselowski take another big dip with a crash “assisted” 31st-place finish. But since all Chase wins mean a jump to the next round – and at this point, that means the final Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway – the up-and-down performance may not exactly be a bad thing from his perspective.

“This format really lends itself to inconsistency,” he explained during a break in today’s testing at Homestead. “It seems like you can either be very inconsistent and win and have a bad finish, have a bad finish, win – or you can be very consistent and have third and fifth-place finishes.

“All of that will carry you into the last round, but we’re all entering the last round with the thought process that you’re gonna have to come here and win the race.

“And if that’s the case, I don’t really wanna be consistent. I wanna be the guy that can get hot on any given week and kind of own a race, so to speak.”

Keselowski is certainly capable of doing that as his six victories this season can attest.

He wouldn’t completely discard being a regular front-runner, citing the fact that had this year’s Chase format been implemented to last year’s Chase, Dale Earnhardt Jr. would’ve been crowned champion despite going winless in that particular stretch.

However, Keselowski thinks that such a mindset will not do for him if he manages to make the finale.

“I think you have to count on coming here needing to deliver a clutch performance to win, and I think our teams at Team Penske have that capability,” he said. “We’d like to have a little more consistency, but with this format, it’s not really a necessity.”

Keselowski is currently 26 points behind the cutoff to advance heading into Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

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.