Michael Andretti: Surfers Paradise could follow Road America’s success with IndyCar comeback

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Michael Andretti supports IndyCar’s possible return to Surfers Paradise in Australia, believing it could enjoy similar success to Road America after its comeback earlier this year.

Verizon IndyCar Series officials confirmed reports last month that a return to Australia’s Gold Coast was being evaluated.

Surfers Paradise last played host to a non-championship race in 2008 after the Champ Car-IndyCar merger.

Andretti won the inaugural race at Surfers Paradise back in 1994, and is supportive of a possible return for IndyCar in the near future.

“It would be great,” Andretti told NBC Sports.

“I don’t know how real that is, but if it is real, I would definitely support it.”

Andretti thinks a race in Australia could mirror the success enjoyed at Elkhart Lake earlier this year, when Road America played host to a record crowd last month after an eight-year absence.

“From an event standpoint and feel-good for the series and support, it’s a fantastic event going down there,” Andretti said of Surfers Paradise.

“It would be cool to go back there because you look at what happened at Elkhart Lake – to come back that, it was overwhelming the support and everything that you felt there.

“It was actually a record crowd for that track. It could happen that way in Australia as well.”

When asked if Road America’s success reflected the strength of IndyCar at the moment, Andretti said: “I think so. We have support.

“You look at our events. Our oval races, some of them we have a bit of a problem getting fans, but man, when you get to the street races and some of the natural road courses, we get tons of people.

“There are still a lot of IndyCar fans out there.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

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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.