Newgarden leads Saturday Mid-Ohio practice

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Josef Newgarden led Saturday morning’s 45-minute practice for the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. The series sophomore lapped the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1:06.654 in the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda.

Marco Andretti, E.J. Viso, James Hinchcliffe and Justin Wilson rounded out the top five.

The session had a long red flag for an accident by Charlie Kimball in the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Kimball lost control through Turn 1 and backed into the tire barriers, temporarily getting airborne, but landing right side up. The car suffered severe damage at the rear, forcing a change to a backup car but not a change of engines.

Qualifying groups are below. The session is green at 2 p.m. ET local time and on NBC Sports Network at 5 p.m. ET later this evening.

It will be a normal qualifying session with the fastest six in each group advancing to the top 12, with the six best there moving into the Firestone Fast Six.

Group 1                  Group 2
#9 Scott Dixon           #12 Will Power
#10 Dario Franchitti     #1 Ryan Hunter-Reay
#83 Charlie Kimball      #98 Luca Filippi
#27 James Hinchcliffe    #25 Marco Andretti
#78 Simona de Silvestro  #77 Simon Pagenaud
#3 Helio Castroneves     #11 Tony Kanaan
#67 Josef Newgarden      #7 Sebastien Bourdais
#5 E.J. Viso             #55 Tristan Vautier
#19 Justin Wilson        #4 Oriol Servia
#18 James Davison        #15 Graham Rahal
#6 Sebastian Saavedra    #16 James Jakes
#20 Ed Carpenter         #14 Takuma Sato

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).