NASCAR AMERICA: Consistency has “played into our hands,” says Ryan Newman’s crew chief (VIDEO)

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At the start of this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, not very many folks were giving Ryan Newman a chance to truly contend for a championship.

But he and the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team – led by his crew chief, Luke Lambert – have managed to improve enough to put themselves second on the Chase Grid going into Sunday’s middle race for the Eliminator Round at Texas Motor Speedway.

The last step would be to somehow win either at Texas or at Phoenix over the next two weeks to put themselves into the Championship Race at Homestead.

But while that is a goal they want to achieve, they also are cognizant of how far regular front-running has taken them this post-season.

“I feel like that’s been one of our strengths this year – our consistent performance at all different styles of race tracks,” Lambert told NASCAR AMERICA’s Jason Weigandt today at RCR headquarters. “Our mile-and-a-half, high-banked program’s been good, but so’s our flat-track and short-track program.

“I think that’s one thing that has played into our hands. We can show up and run well at any style of track, and these next two tracks coming up for us are some of our best.”

For more of Lambert’s interview, check out the clip above.

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.