UPDATE: Power leads both Tuesday Barber test sessions

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IndyCar’s first day of testing has started at Barber Motorsports Park. Some 18 drivers have already lapped underneath the official track record in the morning, due in part to a track resurfacing.

Of those 18, the top four times were set by Chevrolet-engine runners. Will Power, defending Barber race winner, led the field at 1:08.4984 ahead of James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Helio Castroneves.

Scott Dixon led the Honda runners, half a second back of Power in fifth.

Simona de Silvestro showed well in her first full field run with a Chevrolet engine. After being saddled with the Lotus a year ago for HVM, de Silvestro clocked in ninth in the morning session in the No. 78 KV Racing Technology entry.

Simon Pagenaud, Ana Beatriz (Dale Coyne Racing), JR Hildebrand and Sebastien Bourdais were unable to set representative times in the morning. All turned three laps or less.

UPDATE: 7:00 p.m. EST: Power’s dominance continued into the afternoon session of IndyCar testing at Barber. All drivers except Dario Franchitti improved their fastest laps from the morning. Power got down to a new fastest lap of 1:07.8625.

“I’ve never felt so much grip in this car,” Power said. “Penske 1-2, it’s only the first day of testing, but that shows that we worked hard in the winter. As a team we’re very determined to check a couple of boxes this year, obviously the Indy 500 and the championship are absolutely top of the list.”

As in the morning, Chevrolet cars paced the field. The “Bowtie brigade” locked out six of the top seven positions. Power’s full-season teammate Helio Castroneves was next, with James Hinchcliffe third, EJ Viso fifth, Simona de Silvestro sixth and Oriol Servia seventh.

The lone Honda interloper in that group was Mike Conway, who tested Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s second car rather than James Jakes. Conway, who made the Firestone Fast Six at Barber qualifying last year, clocked in fourth at 1:08.1584.

AJ Allmendinger’s first day at Barber in Team Penske’s third car ended 16th. Beatriz, in her day in Coyne’s second car, was unable to better a 1:12.0076, that left her at the bottom of the 26-car field. Justin Wilson’s younger brother Stefan will take over on Wednesday.

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).