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Leist leads rookie test at ISM Raceway

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The Verizon IndyCar Series’ open test at ISM Raceway in Phoenix began on Thursday with a rookie test for all drivers making their IndyCar debuts at the one-mile oval. A.J. Foyt Racing’s Matheus Leist led the way with a quick lap of 184.236 mph, the only driver to go faster than 184 mph at any time, in his No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet.

Pietro Fittipaldi ended up second with a best lap of 183.347 mph, a solid oval debut with Dale Coyne Racing. Robert Wickens, Spencer Pigot, Zach Veach, Kyle Kaiser, and Gabby Chaves rounded out the rookie field.

Marco Andretti also turned laps in Veach’s No. 26 Group One Thousand One Honda to help shakedown the car. Andretti turned the seventh fastest lap in the process.

The open test continues tomorrow with two sessions, the first beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET and the second at 8:00 p.m. ET, with all entries taking part. All four sessions between Friday and Saturday will be streamed on IndyCar’s website.

Results from the rookie test can be found here.



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).