NASCAR: Chad Little, Elton Sawyer named to new competition roles

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Chad Little and Elton Sawyer have been named to new roles within NASCAR’s competition department, and will start on both immediately.

Little will become Managing Director, Technical Inspection/Officiating, with Sawyer now Managing Director, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Little, a former Sprint Cup and Xfinity driver earlier in his career, has moved into the competition and officiating side, most recently serving as Series Director in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the Weekly/Touring Series.

Sawyer joins NASCAR after serving as Director of Team Operations for Action Express Racing in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship governed by IMSA. Prior to that role, he held competition roles at Red Bull Racing and Evernham Motorsports.

“NASCAR recently has made significant investments in both the technical inspection and officiating areas of our sport,” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer said in a release. “Those areas have become flagship examples of innovation, keeping NASCAR as a premier sport. Chad is an ideal candidate to provide oversight and lead us to further evolve in those critical areas.

“Similarly, we’re fortunate to have a professional in Elton, who has substantial experience across the racing industry, to direct the popular NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.”

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.