PIRTEK Team Murray partners with Chris Kyle Frog Foundation for Indy 500

Photo: PIRTEK Team Murray

Following its announcement last week in Australia that “Crusher” Murray has partnered with KV Racing Technology to create PIRTEK Team Murray, for Matthew Brabham’s debut in the 100th Indianapolis 500 and Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis the race before, the team has also revealed a major partnership announcement today at the Performance Racing Industry trade show.

Here is the full release:

The Chris Kyle Frog Foundation has announced it will join forces with PIRTEK Team Murray for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May 2016.

Established in 2014 in honor of the famed American Sniper, Chris Kyle, the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation is dedicated to serving military and first responders through meaningful interactive experiences that enrich family relationships.

Executive Director of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation Taya Kyle was on hand in Indianapolis with driver Matt Brabham and team owner Brett Murray at the annual Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show (December 10-12) to officially unveil the PIRTEK Team Murray Indy 500 entry on the Verizon IndyCar Series stand.

Taya Kyle was also announced as the team’s Official Ambassador, which will see her involved in a range of activities, including being the team’s guest on the pre-race grid on Sunday May 29 – Memorial Day Weekend.

The PIRTEK Team Murray effort will see 21-year-old Matt Brabham become just the third third generation driver to start the world’s biggest single day sporting event behind his famous grandfather, Sir Jack, and father Geoff, who made 10 starts in the world’s most famous motor race.

The team has naming rights sponsorship from international fluid transfer systems specialists PIRTEK, who will be using the Indianapolis 500 to launch the next phase of their business in the US. The team will have supply and technical alliance with KV Racing Technology, which won the Indy 500 in 2013 with Tony Kanaan.

The team will join with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation to develop an integrated program serving military and first responder families in the lead up to the 500.

Ms. Kyle – the wife of American Sniper Chris Kyle and author of the New York Times best-seller, American Wife – welcomed the opportunity of becoming the team’s Official Ambassador.

“The Chris Kyle Frog Foundation is honored and incredibly excited to be a part of PIRTEK Team Murray and the 100-year tradition rooted in excellence that is the Indianapolis 500,” said Kyle.

“Team Owner, Brett Murray and many of those involved with PIRTEK Team Murray are close friends of my sister, Ashley and her family in Australia, we’re humbled that Brett has presented the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation this opportunity and look forward to working with the team to leverage our programs.”

PIRTEK Team Murray principal, Brett Murray welcomed the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation and Taya Kyle as part of his team.

“Since the Foundation was launched in November 2014 it has been very close to our business, but more importantly close to our heart in both the U.S. and Australia,” said Murray.

“The 100th Indianapolis 500 will be a special day for us, but I’m most proud that, in concert with the Foundation and PIRTEK, we’ll be able to make a difference to American service men and women using this platform.”

Matt Brabham understands the magnitude of having the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation as part of his racing effort at the 100th Indianapolis 500.

“Chris Kyle was an American hero,” said Brabham. “Everyone knows what sort of a gladiator he was, so to have Taya standing with us today is a real honor. Welcoming the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation and the military community along for the ride with PIRTEK Team Murray is something really special,” he continued.

The #61 PIRTEK Team Murray Chevrolet-Dallara will carry the spirit of Chris Kyle with it throughout the entire Month of May campaign as the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation logo will be on the car’s nose and cockpit as well as on all team uniforms and equipment.

SuperMotocross: Ken Roczen urgently needed change

Roczen change
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Change can be frightening, but it is often exhilarating and Ken Roczen, a rider in his ninth season on a 450 bike, it was urgently needed.

Roczen ended the 2022 Supercross season with his worst performance in five years. After finishing outside of the top five in seven of his last eight rounds in the stadium series, well down the points’ standings in ninth, he decided to put that season on hold.

How it ended was in stark contrast to how it began. Roczen’s 2022 season got off to the best possible start. He won the Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California by more than seven seconds over the 2021 champion Cooper Webb.

That would be his last podium and he scored only one more top-five in the Glendale, Arizona Triple Crown.

MORE: Ken Roczen sweeps top five in Anaheim 2 Triple Crown

Before 2022, Roczen was a regular challenger for the championship despite being plagued by major accidents that required surgery in 2017 and 2018. On his return, he was diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus, which presents with symptoms of heavy fatigue, muscle weakness and loss of appetite and last year he tested positive for COVID-19.

Against those odds, he finished second in the outdoor season in 2019 and third in 2020. In the Supercross series, he finished third in 2020 and second in 2021.

But the abbreviated season of 2022 signaled a need for change for Roczen.

“I needed the change urgently,” Roczen said in last week’s post-race press conference at Angel Stadium. “I did a pretty big change in general.”

Those comments came three races into the 2023 with him sitting among the top three finishers for the first time in 10 Supercross rounds. It was the 57th podium of his career, only six behind 10th-place Ryan Villopoto. It was also the first for Suzuki since 2019 when Chad Reed gave them one in Detroit 63 rounds ago.

Taking time off at the end of the Supercross season had the needed effect. He rejoined SuperMotocross in the outdoor season and immediately stood on the podium at Fox Raceway in Pala, California. Two rounds later, he won at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, Colorado. The relief was short lived and he would not stand on the podium again until this year.

Roczen Motocross Round 3
Ken Roczen won Round 3 of the outdoor season in 2022 at Thunder Valley after finished second in Moto 1 and first in Moto 2. Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Winds of Change

Roczen’s offseason was dramatic. Citing differences over his announcement to compete in the World Supercross Championship, he split with Honda HRC and declared himself a free agent. It wasn’t a difficult decision; Roczen was signed only for the Supercross season.

That change had the desired effect. Roczen won the WSX championship in their two-race, pilot season. More importantly, he proved to himself that he could compete for wins.

Late in the offseason, Roczen announced he would also change manufacturers with a move to HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki. He won the 2016 Pro Motocross title for Suzuki with nine wins in 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second. He easily outran the competition with an advantage of 86 points over second-place Eli Tomac.

“I just think change overall made it happen – and these overseas races – it’s really just a snowball,” Roczen said. “You start somewhere and you feel like something works out and I got better and had more fun doing it. Working with the team as well and working on the motorcycle to get better and actually see it paying off. It’s just, it’s just a big boost in general.”

The return to Suzuki at this stage of his career, after nearly a decade of competing on 450 motorcycles, recharged Roczen. He is one of three riders, (along with Cooper Webb and his former Honda teammate Chase Sexton), with a sweep of the top five in the first three rounds of the 2023 Supercross season.

But last week’s podium really drove home how strong he’s been.

“I think we’re all trying to take it all in,” Roczen said. “I wouldn’t say it came out of nowhere really, but before the season starts you think about – or I thought of how my whole last season went – and it’s been a long time since I’ve been on the podium.”

Roczen’s most recent podium prior to Anaheim 2 came at Budds Creek Motocross Park in Mechanicsville, Maryland last August in Round 10 of the outdoor season. His last podium in Supercross was the 2022 season opener that raised expectations so high.

Supercross Round 1 results
Ken Roczen raised expectations with his season opening win at Anaheim but did not stand on the box again in the Supercross series. Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

The change Roczen needed was not just a different team and bike. More importantly, he needed the freedom to set his own schedule and control his training schedule.

“It’s long days, but I’m really into it at the moment,” Roczen said. “Overall, I felt [that] throughout this off season and now my health has been really well, really good, so that helps. It’s needed to get to the top. I’m pretty confident that we’re, we’re doing the right thing – that I’m doing the right thing.

“I’m doing all my training on my own and I’m planning out my entire week. And I feel like I have a really good system going right now with recovery and putting in some hard days. Right now, I don’t really have anybody telling me what to do. I’m the best judge of that.

“It’s really hard to talk about how much work we’ve put in, but we’ve been doing some big changes and riding a lot throughout the week, some really, really late days. And they’re paying off right now; we’re heading in the right direction. We’re all pulling on the same string, and that helps me out big time.”