Kyle Larson wins first dirt late model race in his second career start

Kyle Larson dirt racing
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
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Kyle Larson discovered a new way to dominate in dirt racing Saturday night.

In only the second dirt late model race of his career, Larson led all 50 laps of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series at Port Royal Speedway in Pennsylvania.

Larson already had won more than 30 feature races this year in sprint cars, silver crown and midgets, but he said Saturday’s victory was “no doubt, probably one of, if not the biggest, wins ever of my career.

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“I thought we would be OK, but I didn’t think I was going to win a race,” Larson said in a series release after beating Brandon Sheppard by 0.499 seconds. “To climb into something that’s way different than I have ever been in and to have success with a great team just means a lot.”

Larson had finished fifth in his Late Model debut Thursday at Port Royal, where he previously won three times in sprint cars. He had set modest expectations in interviews this week, hoping just to be competitive against some of the best in dirt lade models.

Said Sheppard, who has 25 victories this season: “I felt like I was closing in on him [Larson]. I really couldn’t take off very well on the restarts and we had a bunch of restarts tonight. That wasn’t helping me. Kyle did a really good job; he does a good job in anything he drives.”

Larson earned $15,000 for the victory as well as praise from many corners in the racing world.

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.