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Ron Capps wins Funny Car final in NHRA opener

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POMONA, Calif. (AP) Ron Capps raced to his first Funny Car victory in nearly a year Sunday in the season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Capps beat defending series champion Del Worsham in the final round for his third Winternationals victory and 46th career win. Capps had a 3.981-second run at 324.28 in a Dodge Charger.

“This is the most fabled track we go to and it’s the birthplace of drag racing. It is unbelievable to win here,” Capps said. “I can’t wait to get this season going. You wonder if you are ever going to see one of these (trophies) again. I am racing Del Worsham in the final, who is one of the best. We threw down. What a race. Just to know we can get in the winner’s circle and get another Wally feels good.”

Steve Torrence won in Top Fuel, and Greg Anderson topped the Pro Stock field.

Torrence powered to his first Winternationals victory and sixth of his career, outrunning Doug Kalitta in the final with a 3.735 at 326.48. Four-time season champion Anderson held off teammate Jason Line, running a 6.617 at 207.85 in a Chevrolet Camaro.

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.

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).