Today’s IndyCar iRacing Challenge at COTA: Start time, TV info, more

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The IndyCar iRacing Challenge will return to a road course Saturday as the fifth of six rounds is held at virtual Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.

The 33-driver field will include newcomers Lando Norris (Formula One) and Chaz Mostert (Australian Supercars), who will be waking up in the predawn hours to race Down Under. Former Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot also will be making his debut.

The most recent road course event at Barber Motorsports Park was won by Scott McLaughlin, who also will be racing from Australia well before the sun rises. Simon Pagenaud has won the past two races on ovals (Michigan and Twin Ring Motegi), making it three consecutive victories for Team Penske.

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Sage Karam, who won the iRacing Challenge opener at Watkins Glen International, has been strong on road courses in the series, leading 67 of 90 laps.

Here is the information on today’s virtual race:

START: The command to start engines will be given by Texas-born music artist Jack Ingram at 2:43 p.m. ET, followed by the green flag at 2:45 p.m.

TV: Coverage of the race will begin on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET and also via the NBCSN stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports App. The IndyCar on NBC booth of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy will have the call of the race with reporter Marty Snider.

The race also can be viewed through drivers’ individual Twitch channels.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Performed by singer-songwriter Cory Morrow and his wife, Sherry Morrow, singing the national anthem and at 2:39 p.m. ET.

TRACK: Circuit of The Americas, a 20-turn, 3.41-mile natural road course in Austin, Texas. Turn width: Varies from 39 to 52 feet. Course direction: Counterclockwise.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 12. Three laps of yellow followed by a single-file restart.

DISTANCE: The AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge is 32 laps/109.1 miles/175.6 km (approximately 70 minutes).

PUSH TO PASS: 10 activations for a 10-second duration

SETUPS: Fixed; no changes allowed for drivers.

PIT STOPS: Two. Fuel window approximately 40 laps.

FAST REPAIRS: Two (drivers have been allowed two fast repairs, the equivalent of hitting a reset button, at the past two races on road courses; on ovals, drivers have been limited to one fast repair).

REAL WORLD AT COTA: There has been one IndyCar race at COTA. On March 24, 2019, Colton Herta became the youngest winner in series history at 18.

IndyCar rookie Oliver Askew swept both Indy Lights races last March at COTA.

UNOFFICIAL POINTS STANDINGS: There is no championship at play, but if points were being kept, Simon Pagenaud (who has won the past two races) would be leading. Click here for the points standings after Twin Ring Motegi.

PAST FOUR ROUNDS: Click here for the full boxscore from Twin Ring Motegi. Click here for the full boxscore from Michigan. Click here for the full boxscore from Barber. Click here for the full box score from Watkins Glen.

NEXT: The AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at Circuit of The Americas is the fifth of six events to be held each Saturday through May 2. Next week’s finale will take place at a non-IndyCar “Dream” track that will be announced soon.

ENTRY LIST: Click here to view the entry list for the fifth round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge.

SPOTTER’S GUIDE:Click here to view the paint schemes being used in today’s race at Circuit of The Americas.

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.