First-timers Davison, Filippi find problems in IndyCar quals

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Dale Coyne Racing’s James Davison and Barracuda Racing’s Luca Filippi (pictured) – who are both making their IZOD IndyCar Series debut in tomorrow’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – will have to come from the back of the grid after their Saturday qualifying sessions went sour.

Early in the first round, Davison made contact with Ed Carpenter in Turn 6 while attempting to warm up the tires on his No. 18 Honda. The incident forced Carpenter to pit for a new nose cone and both drivers were unable to advance into the second round.

“He was going to the left to set up for Turn 6 and turned right back in the front of me when I was making a run on him,” Carpenter said. “I’ve been there. There’s a lot going on. But he’s not paying attention to what’s going on.

“If that’s how he’s going to drive in tomorrow’s race, he’s going to end up getting run into.”

Davison would post a time of 1 minute, 6.2839 seconds but will have to start 17th. Carpenter will start on the inside of the final row alongside Filippi, who appeared to have carried over his strong pace from Friday practice.

Unfortunately for him, he lost control of the No. 98 Barracuda Honda while on his first flying lap of the session and hit the tire barriers near Turn 12 to bring out the red flag.

Filippi was running fourth in his qualifying group at the time, but INDYCAR rules state that any driver who causes a red flag during qualifying sessions will have his/her two fastest laps not be counted. With those times wiped away, his third-best lap of 1 minute, 6.8757 seconds put him 24th on tomorrow’s grid.

“We were close to the guys on top and I had a great feeling, so it’s really a shame for the Barracuda Racing team,” said Filippi, who replaces long-time veteran Alex Tagliani this weekend in the No. 98. “We’ve had a great weekend, so we’ll keep working hard and aim for a good finish in the race tomorrow.”

Watch tomorrow’s Honda Indy 200 from Mid-Ohio online and on your mobile device.

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).