Once i’s are dotted, t’s are crossed and contracts are signed off on, it looks set that A.J. Foyt Enterprises will return to Chevrolet power and aero kits for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Chevrolet/GM tend to announce deals only when they are finalized.
Initially reported by NBCSN contributor Robin Miller for RACER.com and then picked up on by the other regulars in the IndyCar media sphere, Foyt is set to switch from Honda to Chevrolet next year, and it makes sense on multiple fronts.
For one, A.J. Foyt and Chevrolet have a long history together, even though they haven’t been together in IndyCar since 2005. Honda stepped up as sole supplier in 2006 but Foyt stuck with Honda from 2012 when engine competition returned to the series.
Second, with Chip Ganassi Racing’s move from Chevrolet to Honda, invariably at least one or two teams would need to switch the other way for a balance of power – not balance of performance – between the two manufacturers.
With a Foyt move, once official, it would bring the number of Chevrolet entries up to nine, four from Team Penske, two apiece from Foyt and Ed Carpenter Racing, and one from KVSH Racing provided all entries return in 2017.
Third, it makes Foyt’s team an attractive landing spot with neither of its seats set for next year. Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth competed for the team this year but for about a month, it’s been rumored one if not both of those drivers will be set to leave at year’s end.
A mix of veterans and intriguing youngsters have been mentioned in consideration for the two seats at the A.J. Foyt-owned, Larry Foyt-led team, which last won a race in 2013 with Sato at Long Beach.
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.