IndyCar mulls potential replacements for Phoenix race, including Homestead-Miami Speedway

The last INDYCAR race at Homestead-Miami Speedway was in 2010. Photo: Getty Images
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ISM Raceway officials announced two weeks ago they would not extend its three-year contract with INDYCAR, which expired after this past April’s race at the one-mile track in suburban Phoenix.

However, track president Bryan Sperber left the door open for INDYCAR to return at some unspecified point in the future.

Sperber also revealed that officials of International Speedway Corporation – parent company of ISM Raceway – are actively talking with officials of INDYCAR about potentially finding another ISC track to replace Phoenix on the schedule.

Since Sperber’s announcement, rumors and speculation have begun to build on what track could potentially take ISM’s place on the INDYCAR schedule.

MORE: Phoenix will not be on IndyCar schedule in 2019

During the NASCAR weekend this past Friday through Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway, MotorSportsTalk asked an International Speedway Corporation official about reports that the top contenders to replace Phoenix in 2019 – all that have previously hosted INDYCAR races in the past – are:

* The .750-mile Richmond Raceway, which hosted nine prior INDYCAR races from 2001 through 2009.

* The 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway, which hosted 10 INDYCAR races from 2001 through 2010.

* The 2-mile Auto Club Speedway, which hosted 14 INDYCAR races from 1997 through 2005 and again from 2012 through 2015.

The ISC official, who asked to not be named for this story, quickly discounted Chicagoland and Auto Club Speedway, but then threw out a curve ball, telling MotorSportsTalk, “you might want to look south, like maybe Homestead.”

That’s right, the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway, which previously hosted CART and IndyCar for a combined 15 races from 1996 through 2010.

In response, an INDYCAR official — who also requested anonymity — told MotorSportsTalk, “ISC said when they announced the ISM situation that they were talking to INDYCAR about other venues, and at this point, that’s all there is.

“We don’t have any signed deals yet with anybody, and we’re talking to more than just ISC, as we always do. … At this stage, we don’t have anything concrete to say because it’s all still in talks.”

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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.