Helio Castroneves angry with Alexander Rossi after collision in Long Beach GP warmup

IndyCar Helio Castroneves angry
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LONG BEACH, California — Helio Castroneves was angry with Alexander Rossi after a collision in the IndyCar morning warmup that left his No. 06 Dallara-Honda damaged three hours before the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Castroneves was unable to return after making just four laps before running into Rossi near the fountain on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street course.

“He’s the one that has the mirror,” a seething Castroneves told NBC Sports reporter Kevin Lee during the broadcast on Peacock Premium (in a short but emotional interview that was as memorable as his 2020 Rolex 24 outburst). “He should take a look at what’s going on. It’s totally unnecessary. Totally unnecessary. It absolutely stinks. I’m pissed off about it. Anyway. I’ll calm down and move on to the race, but his turn will come.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s an (expletive) warmup. It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely insane.”

The contact occurred when Castroneves was on a flying lap about seven minutes into the warmup. Rossi just had exited the pits and nearly lost control of his No. 27 Dallara-Honda after being hit in the left rear by Castroneves, who had right front damage.

“Kind of since Portland, things have been brewing,” Rossi told NBC Sports reporter Marty Snider. “Not brewing, but he likes to jump in line when we’re all trying to get gaps and everything. It happened yesterday. It happened in Portland.

“We’re teammates (as Honda drivers). We haven’t really talked about it. Now is a good time to talk about it. But the fact that he thinks any of it is my fault is hilarious. I guess when you’re a four-time Indy 500 champion, you can have your opinion. He’s entitled to it. But he’s wrong.”

WARMUP RUNDOWN: Speeds from the final practice at Long Beach

INDYCAR AT LONG BEACHDetails and how to watch Sunday’s race

Rossi was able to continue the warmup and posted the fifth-quickest time over his 18 laps.

Castroneves will return to a full-time IndyCar ride next season with Meyer Shank Racing after winning this year’s Indy 500 with the team.

The four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Rossi, the 2016 Indy 500 winner who drives for Andretti Autosport, won this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona together as Acura teammates for Wayne Taylor Racing.

The Andretti and MSR teams also have a technical alliance in which their drivers are in debriefs together, but Rossi said the relationship had been strained.

“He is and isn’t,” Rossi said when asked by Snider how he handles Castroneves as a corporate teammate. “Quite honestly, the Shank car didn’t help (Andretti winner) Colton (Herta) last week at Laguna so I don’t know how much of teammates we really are being right now.”

It was the second consecutive day that Castroneves had a dispute with an IndyCar driver. During the Fast Six qualifying session Saturday, Scott Dixon said Castroneves had impeded his progress during a lap that could have put him on pole position.

Herta turned the fastest lap in the warmup for the 85-lap race (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

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.