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Newgarden sustains first heavy accident of Indy practice

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INDIANAPOLIS – Josef Newgarden has suffered his first setback as a member of the Team Penske squad, as the first driver to sustain a significant accident this month.

While running in traffic, notably around Ryan Hunter-Reay, the driver of the No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet lost control and crashed out exiting Turn 1, continuing with further contact into Turn 2.

Newgarden’s chassis has sustained right side and some heavy left front damage, and may cost him the rest of the day’s running.

A replay of the incident is below:

Newgarden was able to climb from his car without assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team, per INDYCAR. He was checked and released from the infield medical center and has been cleared to drive.

“I banged my foot a little bit, so it’s going to be bruised for the next couple of weeks, but I’ll get through that,” he said.

“I’m totally fine, the car did it’s job like it always has. We have a great safety crew here in INDYCAR, and we’ve got a great racing tub with Dallara.

“I’m fine, it’s a tough break for us on the No. 2 with Team Penske. It’s obviously not something you want to do, especially on a day like today, a pretty nice day with no issues.

“I haven’t had a chance to look at, it just seemed to get away from me when I was trying to get in and keep out of the way of the guys behind me.

“I just got called into the pits, and I didn’t want to check up for they guys behind me, and cause a problem, but it just seemed to get away from me, but until I get a chance to look at it, I’m not 100% sure what caused it.” 

Although rookie Jack Harvey sustained a slight incident in Turn 2 on Monday, this was the first major accident in practice for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Newgarden was fourth on the day with a best speed of 225.455 mph, set in a tow. He did not record a no-tow speed today.

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.

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).