No break for Dixon to let left foot heal since Indy crash

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Scott Dixon had a numb feeling in his injured left foot after all the bumps and braking that come with two races on a street course.

Ideally, Dixon could have used a week or two off after a horrific crash at the Indianapolis 500 to let his foot heal. Instead, it was straight to Detroit the following weekend for IndyCar’s only doubleheader, and now Texas Motor Speedway for a race Saturday night before leaving for the 24-hour race at Le Mans.

“But it’s going to be OK,” Dixon said. “It’s just going to four or five weeks before it’s back to normal. … It should gradually get better anyway. By Le Mans, I should be feeling more comfortable.”

The repaved 1 1/2-mile oval in Texas should provide some relief for Dixon in the No. 9 Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing. The already fast track where Dixon has won twice, and tested at more than 220 mph driving a teammate’s car in April, is smoother now. And there never is much need for braking when in race mode.

“Hopefully not,” he said. “That’s the goal.”

Even without winning a race this year, Dixon is the series points leader at the midpoint of the IndyCar season. He has been the runner-up three times this year, including the first race at Detroit, and has finished in the top six in every race except the 500 after his car flew over the car of Jay Howard and landed atop the inside safety fence. The car was shredded, but the tub of the car remained intact and Dixon was not seriously hurt.

A reporter for IndyCar’s radio network this week (Jake Query -Ed.) shared on Twitter the copy of a handwritten note from a 2nd-grade girl thanking the Indy Car Series for how it responded to keep Dixon safe after the crash.

In the note addressed to IndyCar and signed by Lucy, the girl said she got scared and started crying when she saw the crash. When she saw Dixon limping on TV, she wanted to make sure he was OK, and wrote, “Again, Thank You So Much for Keeping Him Safe!!!”

The father of two young daughters, Dixon responded on Twitter thanking the girl for her “sweet letter”, while telling her he was “doing really well” and hoped to get the chance to meet her one day.

That crash came a week after Dixon and friend Dario Franchitti were robbed at gunpoint while waiting in the drive-thru lane at a Taco Bell, only a mile from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after the 36-year-old New Zealander had the best qualifying run in 21 years at Indy.

“It’s definitely been an interesting season,” Dixon said. “That’s life, you have these crazy ups and down, and that’s what makes it interesting.”

When defending Texas winner Graham Rahal swept the two Detroit races last weekend, he became the first driver this season with multiple victories. Dixon would like to make it eight winners in nine races, and feels like he is close to another win.

“Yeah, I hope so. I think we need a little bit of luck come our way,” Dixon said. “We’ve definitely had some interesting moments where it could have gone the other way and it didn’t. … You’ve got to get everything right, especially with the depth of the field and the competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series now.”

More AP auto racing:

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.