Newgarden mulls NASCAR race, sees more Indy 500 crossover drivers

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At 25 years old, Verizon IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden has a long career ahead of himself to win a lot more races, including several Indianapolis 500s, as well as championships.

But given that Newgarden is a Tennessee native, which is obviously deep in the heart of NASCAR country, it’s not surprising that he harbors some aspirations to try racing in the stock car world at some point, as well.

Newgarden was at this weekend’s Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series races at Watkins Glen International as a fan. But in an interview with NASCAR.com, Newgarden admitted he’d like to give stock car racing a try at some point.

Most appealing to Newgarden is racing on a short track – like the .875-mile Iowa Speedway, where he’s raced five times with one win and three podium finishes in an Indy car – or possibly a road course like Watkins Glen or Sonoma (where the IndyCar season concludes in September).

“I have a huge interest (in driving a NASCAR car),” Newgarden told NASCAR.com.

But Newgarden would also welcome the opportunity to run side-by-side with some of his NASCAR counterparts in an open-wheeler.

“I’d love to see guys cross over more,” he told NASCAR.com. “I know a lot of (stock car) guys who want to run the Indy 500.”

Newgarden told NASCAR.com that he knows of several NASCAR drivers that are considering doing the “Double” – racing on the same day in the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600.

“There’s probably five or six that want to, and two or three that could pull it off and probably will pull it off,” Newgarden said. “I think there’s a lot of interest for guys to check it off their bucket list and not just run it, but win it.”

Five drivers have attempted the Double: John Andretti (1994), Robby Gordon (1997, 2000, 2002, 2004), Tony Stewart (1999 and 2001) and, most recently, Kurt Busch in 2014. Davy Jones also attempted the feat in 1995, but failed to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600 after racing in the Indianapolis 500.

Click here to read the entire NASCAR.com story on Newgarden.

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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.

“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.