Jeff Gordon’s driving instructor killed in Tennessee crash


A retired school principal from Indiana that served as driver’s education teacher for four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon was killed along with his wife on Monday in a car accident in Tennessee.

Per the Associated Press, Larry Sparks, 78, and Jackie Sparks, 77, died after their recreational vehicle went off Interstate 75 near Jellico, Tennessee and hit a tree.

Fox 59 in Indianapolis also reports that Larry and Jackie’s daughter, Debbie, sustained injuries in the accident and needed to be airlifted to a hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The trio were on their way back home after watching Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway, in which Gordon finished second.

Larry was a teacher and principal at Tri-West High School outside Indianapolis, while Jackie was a retired elementary school teacher. Debbie is also a teacher as well.

Upon hearing the news, Gordon expressed his sorrow on social media and called Larry one of his biggest fans. Embedded in his postings on both Twitter and Facebook are pictures of the two at a Jeff Gordon fan club event.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sparks’ family and friends at this time.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

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.