IndyCar: Quite a ride for Plowman, Montagny in one-off races

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There’s always something fun about seeing the one-off entries that appear at Verizon IndyCar Series races over the course of the season, and Saturday’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis was no different.

Suffice to say the days for Martin Plowman in the No. 41 Alfe Heat Treating Honda for A.J. Foyt Racing and Franck Montagny in the No. 26 Suretone Honda for Andretti Autosport, though, were probably more than they bargained for.

Montagny’s race started decently enough when he rose from 21st on the grid to 10th within the first 10 laps, but it was a bit of a red herring. The Frenchman avoided the start line crash but then gained further positions on the Lap 9 restart, a restart he was deemed to have jumped by INDYCAR and thus received a drive-through penalty.

Plowman ran methodically through the early stages of the race, but on Lap 48 their paths crossed. The Englishman lost control trying to pass Marco Andretti at Turn 7, ran through the inside apex of the car and crashed into and over the rear wing and engine cowling of coincidentally, Andretti’s teammate Montagny.

Plowman took to Twitter to apologize for the moment and explain the rest of his race.

The nice thing was, Plowman’s day wasn’t over after the shunt. The car, in its throwback Foyt “Coyote Orange,” did its best “Transformers” imitation and restarted, damage-free, and Plowman attempted to gamble on strategy. He was on pace for a potential top-10 result before a late pit stop resigned him to 18th.

The day was crazy for Plowman, as well, as debris contacted his helmet. He tweeted this picture below.

He’ll have a chance in the rebranded and re-liveried No. 41 ABC Supply Honda on Sunday; meanwhile Montagny, who enjoyed his one-off return to IndyCar, is not sure when his next race will be.

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).