Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

MRTI: Team Pelfrey signs Alberico for St. Petersburg

Leave a comment

Neil Alberico, a veteran of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series, has signed with Team Pelfrey for the Indy Lights’ season-opening weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Alberico, who has contested the last two Indy Lights seasons with Carlin, is eager to resume his Indy Lights career and hopes to use St. Petersburg as a springboard to more opportunities for the 2018 season.

“I would like to thank Rising Star Racing (RSR) and Team Pelfrey for granting me this opportunity. I have been working hard over the course of the offseason, both in the United States and in the Philippines to generate support and awareness for my career and the sport of open-wheel racing,” said the 25-year-old Alberico in a team announcement. “The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is the next step in my career as a professional driver in the premier sport of open-wheel racing in North America.”

Alberico scored one of his two podiums in 2017 at St. Petersburg, finishing third in Race 1, and will pilot Team Pelfrey’s No. 2 entry this weekend.

“It is going to be fantastic to have Neil in a Team Pelfrey Indy Lights car at St. Pete next weekend,” said team manager Gary Neal. “Having watched Neil’s progress over the last two seasons I expect to be at the sharp end of the field and can’t wait to get back on track.”

Follow@KyleMLavigne

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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).