Coyne confirms No. 19 plans, as Vautier to qualify, Davison to race Indy 500

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It’s taken until Thursday to make it official but is now confirmed: Tristan Vautier will practice and qualify the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda through Sunday, before James Davison returns to the car to race it in next weekend’s Indianapolis 500.

Davison is participating in the Pirelli World Challenge series race outside Toronto at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this weekend in the No. 33 AE Nissan GT Academy Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.

Given the commitment, Davison and Coyne needed a replacement driver for the weekend, and the 2013 Verizon IndyCar Series rookie of the year, Vautier, was available.

After getting back up to speed on Tuesday, on Wednesday, Davison ended fourth overall north of 228 mph in a  solid day’s work. He did have an interesting moment in a drafting sequence with Ryan Hunter-Reay, which carried over to Davison’s Instagram page.

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2 trailer park girls.. 🎧

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Vautier is out Thursday morning to complete his refresher laps in the car.

Vautier joins a crowded list of drivers who have competed in an official session for Dale Coyne Racing this year.

Carlos Huertas, Conor Daly and Rodolfo Gonzalez have raced the No. 18 Honda, Rocky Moran Jr. practiced it at Long Beach, Francesco Dracone, Davison and now Vautier have been in the No. 19 car and Pippa Mann races this month in the No. 63 Susan G. Komen Honda. Mann is expected back out Friday after her accident the end of the day on Wednesday.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
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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).