NASCAR: Furniture Row, JR Motorsports announce new crew chiefs

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Two quick crew chief bits of news from the world of NASCAR, for one team apiece in the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series for 2015:

Martin Truex Jr. will have a new crew chief for the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet. Cole Pearn, just 32 and the team’s lead engineer, replaces Todd Berrier in the role.

“In an effort to continue to move the team forward we feel the personnel changes and new additions will yield positive results on the race track,” Joe Garone, FRR general manager, said in a release. “Cole has played a vital role in our growth. The well-rounded skill sets that be brings to the table in his new position as crew chief will he instrumental in our commitment to once again become a Chase participant.”

JR Motorsports has announced the official reveal of its crew chief lineup for its three-car XFINITY lineup.

With Greg Ives moving up to Sprint Cup to replace Steve Letarte as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief, Nationwide champion Chase Elliott will now have Ernie Cope take over as his crew chief on the No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet.

Dave Elenz (No. 5, now 88) and Jason Burdett (No. 7), both formerly of Hendrick Motorsports, round out the lineup. Burdett will work on Regan Smith’s car with Elenz on the multi-driver No. 88 car, to be driven in 2015 by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne.

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.