IndyCar points roundup: Toronto

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When Scott Dixon and Will Power crashed together on lap one at the Honda Indy Toronto, the door was blown open for all championship contenders to make big gains on Dixon, who entered Toronto as the points leader.

While he rebounded to finish tenth, and a lap 23 caution kept title rivals Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, and Graham Rahal, from battling for the win, Dixon nonetheless lost ground in the championship hunt.

Scott Dixon was involved in a lap one crash with Will Power at the Honda Indy Toronto. Photo: IndyCar

“It was a rough day in the NTT Data car,” Dixon lamented afterward. “I had a good start in Turn 1, and it looked like (Graham) Rahal decided to shift lanes and I had to avoid him. Then (Will) Power and I got together and ended up cutting down our tire and doing some damage to the suspension on the car. Then we had to fix the car and INDYCAR gave us a drive-through penalty, which was kind of odd. And then that kind of hosed our best efforts for the day and we ended up 10th.”

As a result of Dixon’s problems, his lead was cut to three points over Helio Castroneves. Simon Pagenaud remains third, but at a scant 19 points out of the lead. Josef Newgarden was the biggest mover, jumping up to fourth, only 23 markers out of the lead.

In other words, when the Verizon IndyCar series heads to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda Indy 200, any one of the top four could leave as the championship leader.

Behind them, Will Power and Graham Rahal remain in contention and are tied for fifth, despite their race day struggles. Power dropped out after the aforementioned incident with Dixon and finished 21st, while Rahal saw an untimely caution wreck his strategy, and he could no better than ninth. But, both still sit within striking distance at 64 points out of the lead.

While neither could leave Mid-Ohio in the championship lead, they could still gain significant ground, especially given their records at Mid-Ohio. Power has five finishes inside the top five there, including three second-place runs, while Rahal has three consecutive finishes inside the top five, including a win in 2015, at his home track.

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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.