Stefan Wilson’s selflessness key to Alonso’s Indy 500 arrangement

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Last year, Stefan Wilson made his debut in the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil as part of an entry supported by the Indiana Donor Network and Gap Guard, in an emotional entry. He’d always dreamed of racing in the event with older brother Justin, but that dream went away after Justin’s accident in August 2015 at Pocono Raceway.

Alas, Wilson held onto the third KV Racing Technology Chevrolet as best he could but was never in with a proper shout at success. He retired past the halfway mark with electrical issues.

Wilson, now 27, and his team were working towards a second appearance in the race this year and were close to a deal with Andretti Autosport. But just in recent days, this has changed, with a rather seismic announcement coming Wednesday morning that Fernando Alonso will be racing in this year’s event.

Wilson first poked a bit of fun at the announcement with his first tweet this morning:

He then expanded on it in a series of other tweets, to follow a story done overnight by NBCSN contributor Robin Miller for RACER.com.

More to come on this angle of the story on NBCSports.com in the coming days.

Hamilton tops second Abu Dhabi F1 practice with new track record

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Lewis Hamilton swept to the top of the timesheets in second Formula 1 practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday evening, beating Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second.

Hamilton trailed Vettel through the daytime-run opening practice session, but managed to strike back by recording a new track record at the Yas Marina Circuit for Mercedes.

Hamilton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:37.877 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Vettel at the checkered flag, appearing to have an edge across a single lap on the ultra-soft tire.

Red Bull threw its hat into the ring as a possible rival for pole through Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the session third-fastest, three-tenths of a second back from Hamilton at the head of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen ended FP2 in fourth place in the sister Ferrari, finishing within half a second of Hamilton, and managed to edge out fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was a further two-tenths back in P5.

Max Verstappen failed to get in a quick flying lap during FP2, ending the session one second down in P6 for Red Bull.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s tight intra-team fight at Force India continued through FP2 as the pair were separated by just 0.01 seconds, taking seventh and eighth respectively to finish as the leading midfield drivers.

Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 for Renault and McLaren, with Felipe Massa following in 11th for Williams on his final Friday appearance in F1.

Massa was fortunate to avoid an accident with Ricciardo during the final 15 minutes of the session after a mix up at the hairpin when the Brazilian tried to get a wider line for the back straight.

Running in Abu Dhabi continues with final practice at Yas Marina on Saturday morning from 5am ET on the NBC Sports app, followed by qualifying at 8am ET on NBCSN.