Verizon, IndyCar, IMS featured in “The Runner” episode

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You’re probably wondering what the heck Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have to do with IndyCar. In short, very little.

But for a brief episode of a new socially-driven, competitive reality series called “The Runner,” the show in which Affleck and Damon are executive producers, these two worlds collide.

Here’s a release explaining how and why it happened:

As the title sponsor of the Verizon IndyCar Series, Verizon is always looking for ways to bring the excitement and thrills of INDYCAR across all of its platforms. The latest example of this is Verizon’s inclusion of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in “The Runner,” the new socially-driven, competitive reality series from executive producers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, airing on go90 and AOL.com.

Hosted by Matthew Patrick (aka “MatPat”), creator of YouTube series Game Theory, and featuring VICE News journalist, producer and media commentator Kaj Larsen as the on-camera expert, The Runner challenges one person to make it across America while the entire country hunts him or her down for a chance to cash in on over one million dollars in prize money.

In the latest episode, The Runner visited Indianapolis Motor Speedway where one contestant had to navigate the garages to unlock a ride in a Verizon IndyCar Series two-seater.

You can check out the full episode here: https://goo.gl/l8xIhn

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).