NNS: Kyle Larson has good learning experience in runner-up effort

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This time around, Kyle Larson couldn’t quite put the pressure on Kyle Busch at Bristol in the Nationwide Series.

In last year’s spring Nationwide race at Bristol, Larson battled with Busch one-on-one in the final laps before Busch edged him at the stripe by a mere .023 of a second.

Larson got himself past Kevin Harvick for second with seven laps remaining in today’s Drive to End Diabetes 300, but was unable to reel in “Rowdy,” who captured his third straight Nationwide win in Thunder Valley by 1.4 seconds.

The 21-year-old had to overcome an early speeding penalty on pit road in order to get the runner-up result from the pole position.

“That’s two weeks in a row that I’ve been caught speeding on pit lane so I’ll have to go back and think about that,” he told ESPN. “Our car was OK to start and [the team] worked on it and got it better in the center [of the corner], and then the track [groove] got out to the wall, where I like it.

“…We got to second [after the last restart] and I thought I might have a shot at Kyle, but I just got up over –  I guess the cushion, you could call it – and got some marbles on my tires. From there, I had to fight off Kevin because Kyle got too far ahead.”

Still, it was another solid learning experience for the Sprint Cup rookie against great competition from the Cup veterans. It doesn’t hurt that Turner Scott Motorsports has been able to give him very competitive equipment on the Nationwide side as well.

“I didn’t think Kyle had the best car today and he was able to fight through it and get the win,” Larson added. “I can always learn something when I’m behind him.

“It seems like this year, I’m closer to them so I can be able to see the guys up front and learn some more.”

No doubt he’ll be looking to put these lessons to good use in tomorrow’s Food City 500 for the Cup Series, in which he’ll start 20th.

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).