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.
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.
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.