IndyCar’s Hinchcliffe, Daly, Newgarden invade NBA all-star game

Associated Press

While NASCAR ran an all-star event to kickoff Daytona 500 festivities, IndyCar drivers James Hinchcliffe, Conor Daly, and Josef Newgarden headed to Canada to attend the NBA all-star game in Toronto, Ontario. And they took to social media to share their excitement.

This was the first time an NBA all-star game was held outside of the United States, which was of particular interest to Canada’s Hinchcliffe.

As the skills contest began, Hinchliffe wondered if IndyCar should have their own all-star competition.

The responses were mixed with nearly as many fans replying to his tweet affirmatively. As those tweets rolled in, Hinchcliffe turned his attention back to basketball when the dunking competition began. It did not take long for him to recognize the skills of the NBA players. Hinchcliffe tweeted, “This dunk contest is actually insane!! I am out of words to describe this!!”

Newgarden was just as excited about attending the all-star event and added his IndyCar perspective.

First thing I thought, catching an Uber to Air Canada Centre for NBA All-Star Saturday night, is that I’m driving through downtown Toronto near our race track. Except it’s a lot colder here today (70 degrees colder) than when the Verizon IndyCar Series races here in the Honda Indy Toronto in July, and we’re moving a lot slower on the city streets than I’m used to — about 110 mph slower since we could only go about 20 through a traffic jam,” Newgarden reported in his blog for USA Today.

The NBA all-star game was a contest between the Western conference versus the East, but Hinchliffe and Daly managed to turn the weekend into a border war by focusing on the Celebrity Game Presented by Mountain Dew. American driver Daly was behind Team USA with Hinchcliffe supporting his home team.

Hinchcliffe provided his reasons why Canada would win. Daly disagreed.

Hinchliffe was correct.

After Canada won the celebrity game on Friday night, the attention turned serious with both the West and East putting up amazing numbers. The Western conference recorded the victory with a score of 196 over 173.

As the NBA settles back into regulation play, Hinchliffe, Daly, and Newgarden await the start of the IndyCar season, which begins with the March 13th running of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

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.