IndyCar Toronto event canceled for second consecutive year as series weighs options

IndyCar Toronto canceled 2021
Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images

For the second consecutive year, the IndyCar Honda Indy Toronto was canceled for 2021 because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols in place for Ontario.

In Friday morning release, the NTT IndyCar Series announced Toronto, which had been slated for July 9-11, had been removed from its 2021 schedule but promised to return next year.

“The NTT IndyCar Series race around Exhibition Place and Princes’ Gates is a hallmark of our summer schedule,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in the release. “To have that void for a second straight year is heartbreaking. We deeply miss our fans there and urge them to remain safe during these unprecedented times. IndyCar looks forward to a high-powered return in 2022 and for years to come.”

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The move leaves the schedule with four street courses — the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg last month, Detroit next month, the inaugural event at Nashville in August and the Grand Prix of Long Beach, which will end the season Sept. 26.

In its release, IndyCar said it was considering “various scenarios” to replace Toronto on its 2021 season.

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Reportedly, among the options would be adding a second race to its current events at Worldwide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Aug. 21) or Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Both Gateway and Mid-Ohio played host to doubleheader weekends after the 2020 schedule was impacted by the pandemic.

Adding a race at Gateway would offer another oval event for the series, which has only four on the 2021 schedule.

Mid-Ohio races are promoted by Green Savoree Promotions, which also promotes the IndyCar race at Toronto.

IndyCar will begin its monthlong residency at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with practice and qualifying Friday for the GMR Grand Prix.

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.