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Pippa Mann returns to Coyne at Pocono in team’s No. 19 Honda

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Pippa Mann will make her third start at Pocono Raceway for Dale Coyne Racing in this weekend’s ABC Supply 500, as the oval veteran will make her second Verizon IndyCar Series start of the season.

Mann, who has driven the No. 63 Susan G. Komen Honda in the Indianapolis 500 each of the last three years and the No. 18 Honda in parts of the 2013 and 2015 seasons, will make her first start in Coyne’s flagship No. 19 Honda this weekend, as the driver rotation in that car continues in the second half of the season.

Luca Filippi ran the opening four races before Gabby Chaves took over starting with the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May. Chaves ran through the Iowa Speedway race before Filippi was back in at Toronto, and RC Enerson made his impressive debut at Mid-Ohio.

Mann will fill the seat at Pocono, a track she’s finished 15th and 13th at in 2013 and 2015, and where last year she also posted her best career starting effort of 17th in the 24-car field.

She’s finished her last five 500-mile races (2014 Indianapolis 500, all three in 2015 at Indianapolis, Fontana and Pocono and 2016 Indianapolis 500) in succession.

It also gives her an opportunity to pay tribute to the late Bryan Clauson, one of her Indianapolis 500 teammates, this weekend.

“The past week has been incredibly tough for everyone in the racing family, and I’m amongst those who have been feeling the loss of a friend, and a teammate,” she said. “When I heard from Dale (Coyne) last week that he had decided that I would drive the #19 car this weekend, it meant so much to me, because it gives me the opportunity to be one of the drivers helping Bryan reach his 200 starts this year.

“I’m also adding an edited version of the BC Still Chasing 200 logo to my helmet for this weekend so I can carry him with me for the race. He told me this May he always wanted to run this race, so I hope between Conor and I, he sees this as us making those starts for him.”

Mann will have her tribute support and teammate Conor Daly, who is usually in the team’s No. 18 Honda, will wear Clauson’s No. 88 as a tribute this weekend in Pocono.

Chaves will resume in the No. 19 car at Texas to finish that temporarily stopped race, and while not formally confirmed, Enerson is expected to finish out the year at Watkins Glen and Sonoma. Enerson tested last week in the No. 19 car at Watkins Glen.

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).