Marco Andretti leads morning practice at Pocono

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Marco Andretti, who topped Thursday’s open test session for the IZOD IndyCar Series at Pocono Raceway, went P1 in this morning’s practice session at the “Tricky Triangle” with a lap at 221.883 miles per hour in the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet. The one-hour run will be the only practice session before Pocono IndyCar 400 qualifying takes place later this afternoon at 1:15 p.m. ET.

Following him in second was Tony Kanaan, who is looking to continue his drive toward a potential Triple Crown with a victory this weekend in Pennsylvania. He topped out at 220.819 miles per hour in the No. 11 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Charlie Kimball, who led the Honda camp with a lap at 220.683 mph in the No. 83 machine.

Current championship leader Helio Castroneves, who goes into Pocono with a nine-point advantage over reigning series champ Ryan Hunter-Reay, was fourth-fastest this morning at 220.219 mph in the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet. Rounding out the Top 5 was Scott Dixon in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda and his lap at 220.217 mph; Dixon will be forced to take a 10-spot grid penalty for Sunday’s race due to changing his Honda motor before the 2,000-mile threshold.

Simon Pagenaud, Takuma Sato, Will Power, Iowa winner James Hinchcliffe, and Alex Tagliani completed the Top 10. The session only went yellow once for Power, who suffered an apparent electrical issue on his No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet and needed to be towed back to the pits.

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).