A.J. Foyt Enterprises confirms its switched-up 2017 lineup

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A.J. Foyt Enterprises has made one of its biggest lineup shifts in its recent history, confirming on Tuesday a youth-oriented lineup of Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly starting with the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Munoz and Daly only have a combined four full-time seasons complete between them. Munoz (2013) and Daly (2013, 2015) also had partial seasons before advancing into IndyCar full-time.

Both drivers switch to Foyt for 2017 from their previous teams. Munoz spent the last three full seasons with Andretti Autosport, winning IndyCar rookie-of-the-year honors in 2014 and having also finished second at the Indianapolis 500 in both 2013 and 2016. Daly finally made it into a full-time ride with Dale Coyne Racing last year after a roller coaster ride to get there, but with the team moving in a different direction to secure Sebastien Bourdais and ultimately Ed Jones in the second car, he had to look for another opportunity.

These two replace Takuma Sato, who’s been with Foyt the last four seasons and is bound for Andretti Autosport, and Jack Hawksworth, who leaves after two seasons for a new Lexus factory ride with the 3GT Racing team in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Daly’s number, what would have been 41, switches to 4 while Munoz takes over the flagship No. 14 car. Daly’s car will be based in Speedway, Ind. with Munoz’s No. 14 car still in Texas.

Per the release, the move to Indianapolis of the No. 4 team marks the first time that AJ Foyt Racing will base a team there after Foyt purchased the property on Main Street in October, 2014.

Another first for the team is carrying the number 4 on a full-time entry in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The number 4 has significance for Foyt as he became the first four-time winner of the Indy 500, but it also holds significance for Daly, whose step-father (and Indianapolis Motor Speedway President) Doug Boles was a founding partner and co-owner of Panther Racing which fielded the No. 4 car. Boles served as chief operating officer from 1997 to 2006.

As the team’s engine contract is not yet finalized, Chevrolet was not named in the release, but the team is expected to switch from Honda to Chevrolet. No engineers were named either.

ABC Supply Co., however, has extended its contract with the team for another two years.

“It’s been a busy off season, which to me is a great thing,” team president Larry Foyt said in the release. “There are many moving parts as we grow and continue to strengthen our weaknesses as a team. It’s wonderful to continue our relationship with ABC Supply and adding two young and fast drivers is exciting for our program.

“I can’t remember a time when the Verizon IndyCar Series has been this competitive from top to bottom, so we know we have to work around the clock this winter to meet our goals before the season starts. We’ve had a great deal of changes in a short amount of time, but the team is committed and the group as a whole is moving in the same direction. I’m looking for this positive momentum to translate to on-track results.”

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.

“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.