Barber blocking controversy #2: Power vs. Hinchcliffe (VIDEO)

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This was less of an issue because no penalties were assessed, unlike for Takuma Sato. But there was one other blocking brouhaha in Barber qualifying, between the usually jovial James Hinchcliffe, the St. Petersburg winner, and St. Petersburg polesitter Will Power.

Hinchcliffe failed to advance through to Q2, and blamed Power without doing so by name.

“Other drivers,” said Hinchcliffe when asked by IMS Radio what happened. “We’ve been struggling a bit this weekend but we had enough time to get into Q2. I caught a driver who was backing off, but then he took off, and backed off again. You get maybe 1 or 2 laps and you can’t do a cool off lap with these tires, but I had to do a cool off lap. He ends up P3 and we didn’t make it – it was frustrating.”

Power, cool and dry as ever, responded to the accusations in the post-qualifying press conference.

“I don’t think I blocked him actually. (E.J.) Viso checked me up,” Power said. “Those guys checked up in front of me. Yeah, I don’t know what he’s talking about. Blocking? Have to take a look at the video. Just whining because he didn’t get through, I think.”

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.

The idea of Hamilton attending the 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 only would be fitting if 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 — spent 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).