Simon Pagenaud made it two consecutive victories Saturday in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge.
The 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner held off Scott Dixon by 0.3429 seconds at virtual Twin Ring Motegi in Round 4 of the series. Pagenaud also had captured Round 3 at Michigan International Speedway.
“Today was a lot about tire saving, the right strategy once again,” the Team Penske driver said. “At the end, it got a bit crazy. What’s fun to me, it’s actually that you’re racing the exact same guys as usual, exact same moves as you would in real life. You keep turning your wheels in your head.
RESULTS: Click here to see where everyone finished at Twin Ring Motegi
WHAT DRIVERS SAID: Postrace reaction from Motegi
LET’S RACE TWO: IndyCar drivers like doubleheaders
“Right now we’re not racing (on real tracks), so we’re racing (virtually) on the weekend. That gives me a lot of joy. The adrenaline was definitely at the maximum level at the end of the race.”
Pagenaud led the final eight laps after taking the lead from teammate Will Power, who finished third. Power and Scott McLaughlin both sustained damaged after an incident with the lapped car of Vincent Askew while the Penske teammates raced for the lead.
“That’s what lost us the race, basically,” said Power, who led a race-high 61 laps and has finished on the podium in three of the four races in the series. “We couldn’t battle for the win anymore. Yeah, missing half a front wing, I was pushing a lot, obviously. I was happy to hang on for third. That showed how much of a gap we’d pulled on the whole field that I could just nurse it home.”
Two-time NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Busch finished 13th in his IndyCar iRacing debut.
Click here to see where everyone finished in the Firestone 175 at Twin Ring Motegi.
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.