Aleshin, Rahal out early at Watkins Glen after incidents (VIDEO)


Mikhail Aleshin and Graham Rahal’s hopes of bouncing back from qualifying disappointment were ended early in Sunday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi after two hefty crashes.

Aleshin suffered a tire blow-out on lap 15 as he approached the end of his first stint, losing the left-rear Firestone through the esses, one of the fastest points of the Watkins Glen circuit.

A full course caution was called in response to the incident, but thankfully Aleshin was able to walk away from the incident unscathed.

“Fortunately I’m fine,” Aleshin told NBCSN’s Robin Miller.

“But that was definitely not a nice feeling when you go into the turn and see the damage, and the tire just explodes. I had no chance to catch the car. We were coming to pits.”

The race returned to green on lap 19 before going back under yellow one lap later following a sizeable crash for Rahal at Turn 1.

Going side-by-side with Charlie Kimball, Rahal was clipped and sent into the wall on the inside of the corner, suffering a front-on impact that caused both wheels to break away, only kept in place by their tethers.

Rahal quickly climbed out of his car unscathed, while race officials investigated the incident with Kimball before deciding to take no further action.

“Kimball decided to not give me any room on the exit. Probably the hardest hit I’ve taken in my life,” Rahal told NBCSN’s Katie Hargitt.

“But I have to take blame too. I shouldn’t have put myself in that position. I should know better than to race him like that. I don’t know if this car is repairable.”

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.