IndyCar: Mid-Ohio likely being rescheduled to mid-September

IndyCar Mid-Ohio rescheduling
James Black/IndyCar

The NTT IndyCar Series is targeting the second week of September for rescheduling the doubleheader race weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course that was postponed earlier this month because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The track had said in a release Aug. 8-9 event weekend would be rescheduled to “a date to be determined in September or October.” Penske Entertainment Corp. CEO Mark Miles provided a specific window during an Indy 500 conference call Wednesday with reporters.

“We’d like to be there the second week of September for a doubleheader,” Miles said, singling out the Sept. 11-13 weekend. “Like all of these decisions, it’s going to be driven by the situation on the ground in Ohio. It will probably be something that we won’t know until we get closer to the end of August. The teams are ready to go. We’d like to be there. NBC has saved some time for us.

“Hopefully we’ll have a doubleheader at Mid-Ohio in mid-September.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that the state would be allowing sports this fall and would be releasing an order with guidelines for fans.

Sunday’s 104th Indy 500 (1 p.m. ET, NBC) will mark the seventh race of the season with seven remaining.

IndyCar currently has no races slated in September.

Aside from the Mid-Ohio doubleheader weekend, the other races with confirmed dates are an Aug. 29-30 doubleheader race weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis, a Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the season finale Oct. 25 at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“I’m quite optimistic about doing the doubleheader in St. Louis the weekend following Indianapolis,” Miles said. “Then we’re hoping we can get back to Mid-Ohio and do a doubleheader. We’ll be here at the Grand Prix and expect to do the doubleheader. We’ll have our finale in St. Petersburg.

“We’re hopeful of getting all of them in. The doubleheaders have been a key. Very difficult to stand up a new race in a new place on an unscheduled weekend, much more feasible to add a second race on a weekend at a place where we’d already planned to race. That’s helped the promoters who have had the benefit of having a second race added to their program.”

Miles said next year’s schedule is expected to resemble the original 17-race schedule for 2020, and the series hopes to release the 2021 slate before the season finale and possibly by the end of September.

“We’ve just got to live in a world where it’s unclear,” Miles said. “We think our schedule will look a lot like the schedule that was put out for 2020 initially. The promoters want to be back. Nobody has the crystal ball to tell us when they’re back and what conditions we’ll run in.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

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.