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Indy 500 win leads to increased NAPA sponsorship for Alexander Rossi

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The NAPA Auto Parts primary sponsorship of Alexander Rossi’s No. 98 Honda will continue for this weekend’s Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans, Rounds 7 and 8 of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

“With the NAPA Auto Parts car winning the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 it only makes sense to continue to race the NAPA colors in Detroit,” Tip Tollison, President of NAPA Balkamp, said Thursday as the IndyCar series rolled into the Belle Isle Park street course circuit this week in preparation for the pair of races.

NAPA was a new sponsor for the Andretti-Herta Autosport team when Rossi provided them with maximum exposure, by stretching his fuel 36 laps at the close of the race and coasting into Victory Lane on fumes.

“NAPA joined us just in time for the historic 100th Indy 500 and we couldn’t have been more thrilled with being able to provide them the win,” said Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti.

Momentum is important in the success of race teams as is the cultivation of partnerships.

“It’s great to see the partnership expand into a sponsorship for Alexander in Detroit and we hope to continue conversations and grow into an even larger relationship,” Andretti continued.

NAPA will get two races for the price of one weekend sponsorship. The Belle Isle Dual in Detroit features a double-header weekend with two distinct races that increases Rossi’s opportunity to win back-to-back weekends.

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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).