Andretti set to continue Indy Lights, Pro Mazda programs

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Michael Andretti’s ever-expanding empire that includes Andretti Autosport and Andretti Sports Marketing has long had a history in the Mazda Road to Indy – at one point, Andretti fielded a team in all three of Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, and USF2000.

While the USF2000 program went away for 2014, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires programs continued.

Despite some rumors that one or the other may be going away for 2015, Andretti is expected to continue with both.

In an interview with MotorSportsTalk from the Alabama-LSU game, where Andretti is promoting the new Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana this weekend, he said to expect both programs to be back in 2015.

“We’re getting close. Two Mazdas and working on two Indy Lights,” Andretti told MST. “I’m happy to report that, because I think we’ll be back in. There was a time we couldn’t say that.”

Andretti has a deep farm system, with Matthew Brabham and Zach Veach having run in Lights this past season, and Garett Grist and Shelby Blackstock in Pro Mazda.

Andretti has also tested Neil Alberico and Dalton Kellett in the team’s two Pro Mazda cars this offseason.

At Milwaukee earlier this year, Andretti said he was unsure if he and the team could commit to the new Dallara IL15 chassis citing costs.

But an Andretti return for 2015 would be huge news for the series, as it would ensure another two cars on the grid from the current field and keep a championship-winning operation in the field, to add legitimacy to what’s already set to be an increased grid.

Stay tuned for more next week from our conversation with Andretti related to some of his and the company’s other programs.

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.