Chase Elliott is fastest in Thursday’s second Nationwide Series practice at Charlotte

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Reigning NASCAR Nationwide Series points leader Chase Elliott, who graduated from high school last weekend, took the rest of the NNS field to school in Thursday’s final practice session for Saturday’s History 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Elliott recorded the fastest speed in the second practice session of the day, covering the 1.5-mile CMS layout with a best lap of 178.330 mph.

Elliott also recorded the highest number of laps run during the session with 47 passes.

Brian Scott, who was the fastest driver in the first session earlier in the afternoon, was second-fastest in the encore session with a best lap of 178.163 mph.

While five of the top six fastest drivers in the first session were Sprint Cup regulars, the second session had just one Cup driver in the top five and three others in the top 10.

Regan Smith was third-fastest at 177.346 mph, followed by Dylan Kwasniewski (177.322), Kevin Harvick (177.247), Trevor Bayne (177.061), Kyle Larson (177.026), Matt Kenseth (176.968), Brad Keselowski (176.407) and Jeb Burton (176.373).

Only 37 drivers took part in the second session; 40 took part in the first session.

NNS qualifying will take place at 10:40 a.m. ET on Saturday, with the History 300 race slated to take the green flag about four hours later at 2:45 p.m. ET.

There was one incident of note during the session, although minor in nature. With less than seven minutes remaining in the session, John Wes Townley spun coming out of Turn 4 but was able to keep the car off the retaining wall and suffered minimal damage. He took the car back to the garage to be checked out.

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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).