Power: “Adversity makes me very motivated to make up for it”

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Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power’s disastrous Long Beach weekend just completed knocked him from third, 14 points back of teammate and points leader Juan Pablo Montoya leaving NOLA Motorsports Park, to sixth, now 39 points back.

With 20th place at Long Beach, Power had his worst finish since 2013 at Baltimore, when he ended 18th following a controversial collision with Scott Dixon. He hadn’t finished outside the top 15 since – 23 consecutive races – before the Long Beach finish.

But it’s early days yet in the season and given his record at Barber, three poles and two victories in five starts, he’s not concerned yet.

If anything, the driver of the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet will look to channel Long Beach winner Dixon in terms of bouncing back at the next race.

“After a weekend like we had at Long Beach I want nothing more than to get back to the racetrack as quickly as possible,” Power said, via Team Penske’s “The Power Outlet” posted to Facebook.

“It’s never fun having to go through a weekend like that. Luckily for our No. 1 Verizon Chevy team they don’t happen very often. We had bad luck in qualifying and it just snowballed from that point.

“However, all that adversity makes me very motivated to make up for it over the next couple of weeks, starting with Barber this weekend.

“We know that we can run a quick pace and challenge for the win there because we have done that on multiple occasions in the past. My teammates have been very solid and very consistent over the first few races and I need to be back on track this weekend to stay with them.”

All four drivers from Team Penske are in the top seven in points. Both Power and Simon Pagenaud have had one “mulligan,” per se, in the first three races – while both Montoya and Helio Castroneves are a perfect three-for-three in top-five finishes to kick off the year.

Montoya leads Castroneves by three points (119-116), with Power (80) and Pagenaud (73) close enough to move forward with a big weekend.

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.