IndyCar: Dixon, Power, Newgarden fastest in final Portland test session

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Three of the four remaining challengers for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship were fastest in Thursday’s second test session at Portland International Raceway.

Series points leader Scott Dixon was fastest around the 1.964-mile permanent road course, which is hosting Indy cars for the first time since 2007. Dixon (121.153 mph) and Will Power (121.083 mph) were the only two drivers to surpass 121 mph in the afternoon session.

Power is currently third in the standings, 68 points behind Dixon with two races left on the 2018 IndyCar schedule — this Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland and the season finale at Sonoma Raceway on Sept. 16.

Defending series champion Josef Newgarden was third-fastest at 120.937 mph, followed by Marco Andretti (120.630) and rookie Zach Veach (120.527).

Series veteran Sebastien Bourdais (sixth-fastest at 120.443 mph) won the last Indy car race at Portland.

Rounding out the top 10 fastest drivers were Ryan Hunter-Reay (120.405), Ed Jones (120.393), Alexander Rossi (120.368) — who trails Dixon by 26 points heading into Sunday’s race — was ninth-fastest, while Jack Harvey, making just his fifth start of the season, was 10th-fastest at 120.268 mph.

There are 25 drivers entered in the race.

Friday will see two practice sessions, while Saturday will have one final practice followed by qualifying (live 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

The race takes place Sunday at 3 p.m. ET (NBCSN begins its telecast at 2:30 p.m. ET).

Here’s the results for both the second and first sessions:





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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).