What to watch for: IndyCar at Barber (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN & Live Extra)

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While the racing has gotten better at Barber Motorsports Park in recent years thanks to the Dallara DW12 and Firestone’s efforts with their tires, the 2.37-mile course is still quite narrow. Patience is always important when it comes to passing on road/street courses, but especially so at this place; a pass for position can take several laps just to set up.


If you want to win at Barber, you better make some hay at the track’s biggest passing zone – Turn 5, or ‘Charlotte’s Web’ as it’s commonly called due to the giant spider sculpture nearby. This left-hand hairpin comes off of a medium-size straight, making it a prime spot for position-swapping. But if a side-by-side battle manages to continue out of the ‘Web,’ the run down to the braking zone at Turn 8 can turn into a game of chicken really quick.


Ryan Hunter-Reay’s ill-fated pass on Josef Newgarden for the lead at Long Beach left several drivers on edge. And Simon Pagenaud still remembers getting knocked into the tires at the Beach by Will Power. While it’s been two weeks since that race, we’ll have to keep an eye out for potential continuation of any issues from that wild battle in SoCal.


Rain is looking more and more like a possibility for today’s 90-lap race, and as we know, that could lead to the proceedings being very different than what observers were expecting. If things get a bit wet, the drivers will most certainly be earning their money today.


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).