TAG Heuer strikes deal with IndyCar, IMS to be official watch

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Watch sponsorships in racing are part of the fabric of the racing culture. TAG Heuer, the Swiss company, has been a racing staple for decades.

So it’s cool to see an iconic, legacy brand such as TAG Heuer officially strike a deal with INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, whereby TAG Heuer will become the official watch of the Verizon IndyCar Series and IMS. As this year, TAG Heuer will also sponsor the Carb Day Pit Stop Challenge at IMS.

“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is proud of its long association with TAG Heuer and excited that the partnership has expanded to include the Verizon IndyCar Series,” Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and IMS said in a release. “TAG Heuer is an iconic brand and a perfect representation of the speed, precision, technology and innovation that are the pillars of our sport.”

A special edition Indy 500 Chronograph will be created as well, to be awarded to the winner of each race.

What the release doesn’t indicate is whether drivers or teams with other personal watch contracts will need to switch.

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship has, unsurprisingly, preferred TUDOR in the watch game, and what had been team sponsors like Chopard, Rebellion, BRM and TAG Heuer have fallen out of the paddock this year.

Interestingly, Dempsey Racing had a deal with TAG Heuer for its 24 Hours of Le Mans appearance, but it would not come over to the U.S. for its TUDOR Championship program.

So, watch what happens from here. And yes, I’ll see myself out after that bad pun.

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).