Johnson rewrites record books with 4th NASCAR All-Star win

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Jimmie Johnson became the first four-time winner in the history of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race tonight at Charlotte Motor Speedway, taking the lead from Kasey Kahne with eight laps to go in the final 10-lap segment and pulling away to a $1 million prize.

A second $1 million bonus that was to be handed out if one driver could win all five segments in tonight’s event did not materialize for Kurt Busch, who won the first segment but was unable to win the next one. That second segment was won by Kyle Busch, who would split the first four stints with his older brother (Kyle winning Segments 2 and 3, Kurt winning Segments 1 and 4).

With both Busch brothers notching the same average finish throughout the first four segments, Kurt won the tiebreaker with his Segment 4 win and led the field to pit road for a mandatory four-tire stop before the final 10-lap sprint to the finish. But a slow stop on his end sent him falling back to fifth, while Kasey Kahne and Johnson came out first and second, with Kyle in third and Joey Logano in fourth.

One lap after the green came back out for Segment 5, Johnson dueled with Kahne for the lead and after a brief fight, the five-time Sprint Cup champion made what would be the million-dollar pass on his Hendrick Motorsports teammate. Johnson’s finishes in each segment were 15th, fifth, third, third and first.

“We had a fast car and I could pass cars,” Johnson told SPEED Channel afterwards. “I found my way up through there three or four times. And when we started on the front row for that last segment, I knew we had a good shot at it.”

In addition to breaking a tie with Jeff Gordon and the late Dale Earnhardt for most All-Star Race victories, Johnson also became the second driver to ever win it back-to-back; the late Davey Allison was the first to do so back in 1991 and 1992.

Logano climbed two spots in the final segment to finish second, followed by Kyle Busch, Kahne and Kurt Busch. Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards completed the Top 10. Fan vote winner Danica Patrick was 20th and defending Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski was 23rd after his transmission broke just two laps into the race.

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).