Briscoe cleared for Sonoma with Panther

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Ryan Briscoe will make his sixth and last IndyCar start of 2013 for Panther Racing (seventh overall, with the Indianapolis 500) at this weekend’s GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma (4 p.m. EST, Sunday, NBCSN).

Briscoe has been cleared to drive after recovering from surgery on his right wrist. He tested last Tuesday at Sonoma with a carbon fiber wrist brace, and will now have the opportunity to defend his 2012 Sonoma race win.

“I’m obviously very happy to be back with the team and in the National Guard car,” Briscoe said in a team release. “My wrist held up pretty good during the test, although the (wrist) brace was a bit of a nuisance. But we made good progress during the test and worked through our program really well. I was pleased with our pace and definitely looking forward to coming back next week to find more speed.”

Conflicts on each of the three remaining IndyCar weekends at Baltimore, Houston and Fontana with the American Le Mans Series will see Briscoe back in one of Level 5 Motorsports’ HPD ARX-03bs in the P2 class. The team will name its replacement for those races after Sonoma, but it is likely to be Oriol Servia once again.

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).