IndyCar: Conway officially out for 2015 at CFH

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File this one as “no surprise,” but official – Mike Conway will not be back for a second season at CFH Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Given the number of date clashes between IndyCar and the FIA World Endurance Championship for 2015, a divorce almost seemed inevitable – if long-delayed for the driver who sought to continue to do both.

CFH team co-owner Ed Carpenter confirmed the Englishman’s departure during the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Indianapolis.

“It’s unfortunate, but we thank him for what he did,” Carpenter told IndyCar.com. “We’ll be going in a different direction and hopefully in the next month we’ll be able to make a decision on a driver and make an announcement and have more success.”

Carpenter also confirmed Conway was under contract to Toyota, which seems to lead to the likelihood of him taking up a deserved full-time ride with that team’s WEC program.

But the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet in IndyCar is a prime ride that is now, officially, open. And while JR Hildebrand, who has tested with the team this offseason, would seem to have the inside line, there are no guarantees he has the seat locked down given the available talent on the free agent market.

“Just when we think we have (a list) narrowed we get a call from someone who is intriguing” Carpenter added. “That is the difficult part about it. It went so well with Mike last year. Now it’s about bringing someone in who is going to help the team.”

Considering Hildebrand would be a popular choice to land the seat, it would be unfortunate if the American was to lose out on the opportunity.

Similarly, others who are waiting in the wings and have paid their dues in the open-wheel ladder system would likely garner more favoritism from the fan base than an ex-Formula One or other European driver only exploring IndyCar as a backup plan, rather than as their primary goal.

Nonetheless, Conway’s official departure – long rumored but never finalized until Carpenter said so today – leaves a void at one of the best remaining seats on the IndyCar grid.

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.