SONOMA, Calif. – This is it. The stage is set for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion to be crowned in today’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma from Sonoma Raceway.
We know it will be a member of Team Penske, but will it be Simon Pagenaud winning his first title or Will Power taking his second?
Power enters the day trailing Pagenaud by 44 points following qualifying, as Pagenaud won the pole position.
Catch all the action LIVE on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App (stream at indystream.nbcsports.com for participating providers) from 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Sprint Cup opener at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Leigh Diffey is back in the booth as lead lap-by-lap announcer along analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.
Kevin Lee will be on pit road with Jon Beekhuis, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller. Lee will also handle the subsequent championship celebration.
Pagenaud starts from pole, as noted, while Power rolls off fourth for the title showdown.
Additionally, plenty of other potential story lines could present themselves in the 16th and final race of the 2016 season.
Of note, defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon signs off his title season and his Chip Ganassi Racing team’s run with Target in IndyCar following a 27-year partnership.
Again, that’s 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET for the IndyCar season finale on NBCSN.
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.