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Rossi settles for P3 in Texas after intense battle with Pagenaud

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While Scott Dixon was running away in the final laps of the DXC Technology 600 on his way to victory, Alexander Rossi and Simon Pagenaud waged a thrilling duel for second.

Rossi, who started eighth, was on the charge from the outset – he jumped up to fifth in the opening handful of laps – and was in contention for the win late in race, running third behind Pagenaud and Dixon on a restart with 34 laps remaining.

He tried passing Pagenaud on the outside entering Turn 1 on a number of occasions, even getting a nose ahead at times on corner entry, but Pagenaud held him at bay every single time.

It left Rossi to settle for P3, his fifth podium of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

FORT WORTH, TX – JUNE 09: Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet, and Alexander Rossi, driver of the #27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda, race during the Verizon IndyCar Series DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 9, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Rossi explained afterward that he was keen to not take unnecessary chances, especially in the wake of his error at the end of Race 2 from the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit.

Rossi even had a scary moment as well, braking loose in Turn 1 at one point while trying to pass Pagenaud. As a result, Rossi was sure to keep himself in check and not do anything overzealous.

“I tried I think on the penultimate restart to go high on Simon in lane two on Turn 1. That was pretty bad, almost catastrophic. After that, I realized lane two wasn’t really going to be an option for us,” Rossi explained.

Still, Rossi never felt that Pagenaud did anything dirty that put them in danger. Rather, he admitted that Pagenaud did a fine job of simply defending his position.

“Despite the runs I had, Simon was doing a good job covering the line into one,” Rossi revealed. “After last weekend, there was really no point in taking unnecessary risks. But the NAPA car was good enough to fight Scott (Dixon) probably. I don’t know if we had enough to beat him. But I think we were really good on tire life, ultimate pace.”

Rossi now sits second in the championship standings, 23 points behind new leader Scott Dixon

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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. 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).