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NHRA: Antron Brown earns 2nd Top Fuel victory of the season

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EPPING, N.H. (AP) Antron Brown raced to his second Top Fuel victory of the season Monday at the rain-delayed NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway.

Brown closed the gap on series points leader Doug Kalitta with a convincing victory over rival Steve Torrence in the final round. Brown powered his dragster to a winning performance of 3.769 seconds at 314.61 mph to hold off Torrence’s machine, which trailed with a 3.778 at 325.30, in a close finish.

It was Brown’s 56th win and his first at New England Dragway. He earned an opening-round bye as the No. 1 qualifier and then defeated Shawn Langdon and Tony Schumacher to advance to his fourth final round appearance of the season.

With the victory, Brown cut Kalitta’s lead from 95 to 46 points.

“The car ran great all weekend,” said Brown, who is 18-1 in head-to-head meetings against Torrence.

“We were fortunate to get the win. That Capco team over there is no joke. Steve is a real tough competitor and we like racing against those guys because you know they are going to give you a great race every time. We’re going home to Englishtown this weekend and we are ready for it. We’ve got to keep pushing.”

Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) also were winners of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Boston.

Capps scored his second win of the season, second at this event and 47th of his career by outrunning Tommy Johnson Jr. in the Funny Car final. In a matchup of Dodge Chargers, Capps finished in 3.923 at 325.61, just ahead of Johnson’s 3.947 at 322.11. With the win, Capps moved from sixth to third in the series points standings.

In Pro Stock, Anderson earned his fourth win of the season and second straight at this event when he powered past final round opponent Allen Johnson. Anderson covered the distance in 6.598 at 210.44 in a Chevy Camaro to hold off Johnson’s charging Dodge Dart, which left the starting line first but finished second with a 6.673 at 208.71. It is the ninth straight final round appearance of the season for Anderson and series leader Jason Line’s KB Racing team and Anderson’s 82nd victory.

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).