Speed seeks second straight Red Bull GRC crown in LA

Speed chats with NBC's Kristen Kenney after New River win. Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull GRC
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Scott Speed will enter this year’s Red Bull Global Rallycross finale as the hunter rather than the hunted compared to his Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross teammate Tanner Foust.

A year ago, Speed held the edge going into the 2015 finale at Las Vegas. Rain and nightmarish conditions greeted Red Bull GRC’s field of contenders, but Speed emerged on top for his first professional championship, and the first for the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team.

Now, Speed has a 13-point deficit to overcome as he looks to retain his crown. But he’s headed to a perfect site to do it – in Los Angeles last year, Speed won both races of the doubleheader.

This weekend marks Rounds 10 and 11 of the season, Red Bull GRC Los Angeles Presented by Honda (3 p.m. ET, NBC) and Speed, who has three wins this year to Foust’s four, will seek an encore of his 2015 performance and capture the title back.

Even though he’s keen to beat Foust, Speed has spoken highly of the mutual respect the two of them have had for each other throughout their stint as teammates.

“We have enough mutual respect to race each other clean,” Speed told NBC Sports. “Three years now, we’ve never really run into each other… or at least not intentionally! So that goes a long way. Clean weekends, less failures, and it’s nice.”

Speed finished off the podium last race out in Seattle and that cost him the points lead after his midseason run of three consecutive race wins at MCAS New River, Washington, D.C. and Atlantic City.

“We’ve had the short end of the luck stick recently but it’s turning around right now,” Speed said after the Atlantic City win. “We’ll look forward to continue to rattle off the pole positions, and having clean qualifyings, because that hurt us in the beginning of the year.

“Even Phoenix the start of season was a disaster. We were lucky to qualify second when we did. We broke in one of the finals. Ending fifth or sixth, we were lucky to finish with a broken car. Lots of little gremlins at start of year but knock on wood, it’s been clean since then.”

Speed has spoken highly about racing in Los Angeles and looks forward to the opportunity to deliver there.

“We’ve been strong all year and as long as we stay clean in LA, I’m confident that the team can grab some more great results to wrap up the season,” Speed said.

“It’s always exciting to come out to LA and I’m looking forward to putting on a great show for some passionate rallycross fans.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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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.