Johanna Long to run select Xfinity, Truck races for new team in 2015

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Sidelined from any NASCAR races in 2014, Johanna Long will be back on the track in 2015.

Long will compete in an unspecified number of both NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series events this season for startup team Mike Affarano Motorsports, which announced the news in a Wednesday release.

Long, 22, of Pensacola, Fla., has 43 career starts in the Xfinity Series, most recently 20 in 2013. She became the youngest female to compete on the circuit when she made her debut at 19 in the 2012 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. She also has 24 starts in the Truck series.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to race this season with Mike Affarano Motorsports,” Long said in the release. “In a time when drivers are pressured to bring sponsorship money to teams in order to race, it was great to have my phone ring and be approached because of my talent.”

Long and MAM will make their debut in the unsponsored No. 03 Xfinity Series Chevrolet on Feb. 21 at Daytona. MAM is based in Salisbury, N.C., about 40 miles north of Charlotte, and will be competing with cars purchased from the former Turner Scott Motorsports.

“We are thrilled to have Johanna behind the wheel for 2015,” Affarano said. “She has such drive and determination that will represent our team well on and off the track, and we know she’s great with attracting sponsors and fans.

“We’re looking forward to growing and progressing as a company together this season.”

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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.