NASCAR: Kevin “Bono” Manion named crew chief for Alex Bowman, No. 7 team

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On the heels of announcing second-year Sprint Cup driver Alex Bowman as driver of its No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing has confirmed that Kevin “Bono” Manion will stay with the team as Bowman’s crew chief.

Manion was crew chief on the No. 7 last year when it was driven by Michael Annett. This past week, Annett was announced to drive a second car for HScott Motorsports.

Now, Manion will be guiding another young driver in Bowman, whose best finish for the BK Racing team last year was a 13th place finish at Daytona in July.

“With Bono leading the No. 7 team again this year, Alex Bowman driving and all the changes put in place at the shop, we looking forward to the drop of the green flag at Daytona,” said owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. in a release. “As always, we are happy to be a part of Team Chevy for another year.”

Manion won the 2010 Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 with Chip Ganassi Racing as crew chief for driver Jamie McMurray. He is also a two-time championship winning crew chief in the Xfinity Series (2004 and 2005, with current Furniture Row Racing Cup driver Martin Truex Jr.).

Today’s release from TBR also mentioned several other personnel changes within the team, including the promotion of Mark Gutekunst to lead engineer on the No. 7 and Doug Campbell coming on as the car’s spotter.

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.