In interview, Franchitti reflects on life without driving, a full year later

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The 2014 season was an odd one for Dario Franchitti – he spent the year as an advisor for Chip Ganassi Racing’s Verizon IndyCar Series program, rather than behind the wheel of his usual No. 10 Target car, following his retirement from driving.

Franchitti’s life changed in several different ways last year. It marked his first time out of the cockpit after more than 20 years, having grown up racing in Europe before shifting to North America with Carl Hogan’s Mercedes-powered team in the 1997 CART season.

He has shifted to being a TV commentator for the FIA Formula E Championship.

He also moved home to Scotland and commuted to the U.S. for events, rather than living in either Tennessee or Indianapolis as he had previously.

On a more random note, he was named as the title track in a rap song last fall – “baked ziti” was used as a rhyme to counter his surname.

Franchitti reflected on his 2014 evolution in an interview with Herald Scotland, now back in his home country and away from driving.

“I didn’t realize how tightly wound I was until I retired because I would think about racing pretty close to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I really focused,” Franchitti admitted.

Out of the cockpit, he only now realized how intense his dedication and focus to driving was.

“Sometimes you sit back and think: ‘This is mad,'” he said. “But most of the time you are thinking: ‘Right, how are we going to get them to go faster?’ But with a bit of distance you realize what seemed normal before is not normal.”

Franchitti also spoke about his new home life, which he said includes FaceTiming his dogs back in North America. He’s keeping things fairly low key, getting out occasionally and adjusting back to the culture.

“I’ve got a bunch of friends I grew up with and we go sailing and when we go on the boat, we generally don’t eat well. I’m trying hard not to [eat badly]. I mean, who doesn’t love a fry-up on a Sunday? Sliced sausage, that’s my Achilles heel, and I am a Tunnock’s addict.”

The full interview is a good one, and is linked here. It’s a decently revealing interview with the driver who prefers to stay under the radar, yet whose accomplishments from 1997 through 2013 (four IndyCar championships, three Indianapolis 500 wins and 31 career wins) rank him as one of North American open-wheel racing’s all-time greats.

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.