Pippa Mann revels in career-best IndyCar finish at Fontana

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Finishing 13th in her Dale Coyne Racing Honda, Pippa Mann enjoyed the best showing of her IndyCar career in Saturday’s MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway.

“It is nice to bring home a top-15 for the team and to earn my best career Indy car finish,” Mann said. “I’m glad to get a good result for these guys.

“We were not the fastest car out there, but the team did a great job improving the car for me during the pit stops. The car was better and better as the race went on.”

Saturday was Mann’s third race this season – all ovals – for the Coyne team. She was 22nd in the Indianapolis 500 and 17th at Texas.

“The crew on my car did a great job with the strategy and the changes at the pit stops throughout the afternoon,” Mann said, adding, ” which allowed us to improve our pace throughout the race, and have a good second half of the race.

“We ended up with a great car over long runs, and that’s when I was really able to start working my way back up through the order.

“Some of the racing out there was a little on the gnarly side, and I’m extremely glad the guys who got caught up in those big incidents towards the end of the race are all okay.

“… Overall I’m just really proud of my guys, and the entire 18 crew. They did a great job again this weekend, and I was grateful to have the opportunity to come and run another IndyCar race for them.”

Given her success thus far this season, might Mann have more races ahead?

Three of the remaining five races on the IndyCar schedule are on ovals (Milwaukee, Iowa and Pocono), along with road course races at Mid-Ohio and the season finale at Sonoma.

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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. 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).