Dalton Kellett heads to Road America hoping to build off first podium

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

As one of six Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires drivers with past race experience at Road America, Dalton Kellett has a slight leg up on some of his competitors entering this weekend’s pair of races.

He also has a little bit of momentum. Kellett had a front row seat to the Dean Stoneman/Ed Jones photo finish in the Freedom 100 from third place, where he took his No. 28 K-LINE Insulators USA, Inc. Dallara IL-15 Mazda for Andretti Autosport to his first series podium.

Kellett enters the weekend 12th in Indy Lights points but with a good opportunity to move up into the top 10, as he sits five points behind both Scott Hargrove and Andre Negrao. Hargrove isn’t racing this weekend; instead, Garett Grist makes his series debut.

Alas, Kellett raced at the track four years ago in USF2000 and posted a best finish of 10th in a 20-plus car field in three races.

He’ll be hoping for an encore of his passing performance at the Freedom 100, when he started 14th but gained 11 positions to end in third.

“It was really nice because one sort of line that was back there was in the process of making it through the field. When it came down to the final laps I had already made a bunch of passes so I knew how to set everyone up and get my runs coming out of the corners,” Kellett explained post-race after Indianapolis.

“When you’re in the car, you’re just focusing on what you’re doing. I don’t think I had anyone trying to get clean laps, make passes, but this is definitely one of the greatest races I’ve ever driven in and the fans here are awesome. There are just tons of people here showing their support. We’re very grateful for that.”

Kellett has been training in Indianapolis in the interim, and was at Detroit driving pace cars there with a handful of others.

“I live here in Indianapolis so I’ve been training with the guys,” he said. “I credit them with my physical fitness, the training. Those guys do a great job. I don’t think we have any testing coming up, so I’m looking forward to getting back on the Cooper Tires road course compound and I’m really looking forward to Road America. It’s a fun track.”

Kellett’s part of a three-driver Andretti Autosport lineup, along with Shelby Blackstock who finished a season-best fourth in the Freedom 100 in his No. 51 Starstruck entry, and the team’s leading driver Stoneman, in the No. 27 Stellrecht car, who is on a roll having won both at the IMS road course and the Freedom 100. Stoneman ranks second in points, 29 back of Jones, with Blackstock in ninth.

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.