Vegas qualifying rained out; Keselowski on pole

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With rain washing away NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, reigning Cup champion Brad Keselowski will start on pole for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400.

The first 36 starting positions for Sunday’s race will be set by last year’s owner points, meaning that Keselowski and Michael Waltrip Racing’s Clint Bowyer will be occupying the front row. The final seven spots are being filled by either owner points or qualifying attempts from this year. NASCAR will begin to use 2013 points in the event of qualifying cancellations starting next weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

A pre-qualifying Cup practice session was also scratched because of the weather, meaning that an entire day of track time was lost. While teams were able to test on Thursday at LVMS, today’s rainout will add a little more importance to the two Cup practices set for tomorrow as the garage continues to figure out the new Generation 6 machines.

“Certainly, we’d like to have all the track time we can get,” Keselowski told “It’s the same for everybody, the same circumstances, and it’s all about how you adapt to it.”

Row 2 will feature championship leader Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, while Row 3 features Greg Biffle (who led Thursday’s test session at LVMS) and Denny Hamlin. As for the two most popular drivers in the Cup series, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will go off 12th and Danica Patrick will start 37th on the grid.

You can check out the full starting lineup here.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).