Montoya’s Indy 500 win extends his IndyCar points lead

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INDIANAPOLIS – It’s easy to forget because of the magnitude of the event, but today’s Indianapolis 500 plays a pivotal role in the Verizon IndyCar Series season as a whole.

And Juan Pablo Montoya stamped his authority on the season, from both a psychological and points standpoint, as a result of his second win in the Indianapolis 500.

This race is one of two (season finale in Sonoma) that features double points, and for Montoya, he takes near maximum points from the event.

Here’s the unofficial points breakdown of the top 20 after Sunday’s race (points after Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the previous race, linked here). Drivers from 21st on back have run five or fewer races.

1. 2-Juan Pablo Montoya, 272
2. 1-Will Power, 247
3. 9-Scott Dixon, 211
4. 3-Helio Castroneves, 206
5. 15-Graham Rahal, 204
6. 21-Josef Newgarden, 173
7. 11-Sebastien Bourdais, 161
8. 83-Charlie Kimball, 160
9. 27-Marco Andretti, 151
10. 10-Tony Kanaan, 147
11. 22-Simon Pagenaud, 142
12. 28-Ryan Hunter-Reay, 130
13. 5-James Hinchcliffe, 129
14. 26-Carlos Munoz, 122
15. 14-Takuma Sato, 106
16. 7-James Jakes, 99
17. 98-Gabby Chaves, 99
18. 20-Luca Filippi, 85
19. 41-Jack Hawksworth, 76
20. 4-Stefano Coletti, 75

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).