IndyCar kicks off busy preseason testing schedule Wednesday at Sebring

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The season opening race weekend may not be for nearly two more months (March 11-13 in St. Petersburg, Florida), but the Verizon IndyCar Series preseason kicks off Wednesday with the first of several test dates.

Here’s a schedule (dates and participants subject to change):

* Jan. 20 at Sebring International Raceway in Florida: Honda Manufacturer Day — Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Carlos Munoz, along with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal.

* Feb. 1 at Sebring: Andretti Autosport will be joined by AJ Foyt Racing’s Jack Hawksworth.

* Feb. 8 at Phoenix International Raceway: Chevrolet Manufacturer Day — drivers slated . Drivers slated to attend include Helio Castroneves, 2015 Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud, CHF Racing’s Josef Newgarden and KV Racing Technology’s Sebastien Bourdais.

* Feb. 10 at Sonoma Raceway: Chip Ganassi Racing’s Charlie Kimball is the only driver slated to test thus far, but it’s likely additional drivers and teams will join him.

* Feb. 26-27 at Phoenix International Raceway: “Test In The West,” a promoter test. Participants have not been announced yet.

* March 1 at Sebring: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s and 2015 IndyLights champ Spencer Pigot.

* March 2 at Sebring: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Rahal and Pigot will be joined by Team Penske’s Castroneves, Montoya and Pagenaud, as well as Newgarden.

* March 15 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama: Team Penske will be represented by Castroneves, Montoya and Pagenaud, while Rahal will represent Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

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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.