Acura Team Penske confirms Graham Rahal for Petit Le Mans

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NTT IndyCar Series regular Graham Rahal will return to IMSA competition and race for Acura Team Penske in the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta next month, the team confirmed in a press release Wednesday.

Rahal will be teamed up with Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 DPi and replace fellow IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi, who will be in Australia that weekend competing in the Bahurst 1000.

“It will be great to team up with Helio and Ricky again as they close out the season and we’ll be working to get the best possible result to help Acura lock up several championships that weekend,” Rahal said in the press release. “I really enjoyed working with Acura and everyone at Team Penske last year and I have missed racing with them this season. But when this opportunity came up for Petit Le Mans, it was an easy decision. I hope I can help them win one of the biggest races of the year.”

Rahal previously raced with Castroneves and Taylor in three endurance events last season, with a best finish of fifth in the Petit Le Mans after leading 128 laps.

Acura Team Penske will be attempting to win both the driver’s and team’s titles at Road Atlanta next month, with the No. 6 ARX-05 of Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron currently sitting first in the point standings, seven points ahead of the Action Express duo of Felipe Nasar and Pipo Derani.

Acura will also be attempting to win the Manufacturers’ Championship, with a current five-point lead over Cadillac in the standings.

The Motul Petit Le Mans takes place on Saturday, October 12, with live race coverage beginning at 12 p.m. ET on NBC.

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Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

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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.