Report: Montoya out at Ganassi in 2014

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Well, here’s one for the NASCAR silly season file. According to team sources who told the Associated Press, Juan Pablo Montoya won’t be back at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates for 2014.

Montoya’s NASCAR career has been largely underwhelming with only two wins and one Chase for the Sprint Cup appearance (eighth in 2009) since his then-shock decision to leave Formula One midway through 2006. He’s spent his entire Sprint Cup career with CGR, first in the Havoline, then Target No. 42.

He also had a successful two-year run with Ganassi in IndyCar before heading to F1. He won the 1999 CART championship as a rookie, and took the 2000 Indianapolis 500 victory a year later.

The speculation will now begin in earnest as to who could replace Montoya in the 42. Ryan Newman’s a free agent and this could be a potential landing spot for him. Kurt Busch? Possibly for the Furniture Row Racing driver, although you’d expect he’ll stay put after needing to change teams each of the last two seasons.

Logical speculation though would lead you to think Kyle Larson, Ganassi’s prized developmental driver, will play a role in the proceedings. He could either be promoted full-time or as part of a ride share with a veteran. Either way, expect that with this news, Larson’s chances of making a Sprint Cup race cameo later this year will increase substantially.

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. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR 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 would seem right for 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 — to spend 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).