Leilani Munter, Shannon McIntosh announce ARCA race plans

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The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has testing at Daytona International Speedway this weekend. ARCA, while not affiliated directly with NASCAR, is a stock car racing series that generally kicks off Daytona Speedweeks in style with a barnburner of a 200-mile race.

Of note, two female drivers have some races confirmed in the series for 2014. Series veteran, environmental activist and occasional stunt double Leilani Munter will be one of five drivers testing this weekend for Venturini Motorsports; Munter is also confirmed to race with the team in its No. 55 entry at Daytona. More info on that is linked here.

Meanwhile, former USF2000 open-wheel racer Shannon McIntosh will test for Cunningham Motorsports this weekend. McIntosh competed in USF2000 for two full seasons (2011-2012) and now returns to her oval roots. She’ll race either 6 or 7 events, beginning April 27 at Salem Speedway. More info for that is linked here.

The full test entry list for this weekend’s action is linked here. NBCSN carried coverage of four 2013 ARCA races.

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).