NASCAR AMERICA: The end is coming for the Sprint era (VIDEO)

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Sprint’s reign as title sponsor of NASCAR’s top-level Cup Series will come to an end at the conclusion of the 2016 season. For the sanctioning body, it’s the start of another search for a major series sponsor.

But as NASCAR on NBC analyst Frank Stoddard noted on today’s episode of NASCAR AMERICA, Brian France and Co. have two key things in their favor as they seek out a big brand with big money for its biggest division.

With Sprint announcing its exit two years in advance, time is on their side. Also, the sport is coming off a thrilling 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup that managed to draw in additional mainstream interest despite the Championship Race at Homestead lacking marquee stars such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon.

One figures that the latter is something France and his team will be pushing to prospective sponsors in the months to come.

Former Cup crew chief Steve Letarte and former Cup standout Jeff Burton also weighed in on Sprint’s exit and the new energy that a new sponsor can bring to the series. You can check out their thoughts in 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.