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Fuzzy’s Vodka ends seven-year sponsorship of Ed Carpenter Racing

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Ed Carpenter Racing will no longer be sporting the familiar green-and-white colors of Fuzzy’s Vodka.

The IndyCar Series team announced that after seven seasons, Fuzzy’s will not return in 2019 as primary sponsor for either team owner Ed Carpenter’s Chevrolet-powered car nor the car of Spencer Pigot.

According to a ECR media release, “Fuzzy’s Vodka will concentrate on business initiatives outside of motorsports moving forward.”

However, the team also noted that Fuzzy’s pullout will not affect its 2019 plans for Carpenter’s No. 20 or Pigot’s No. 21.

Carpenter will once again compete in the series’ five oval track races, Pigot will drive in all 17 races, and newly-signed Ed Jones will drive on road and street courses that Carpenter does not compete in, as well as race in the Indy 500.

Fuzzy’s departure marks the end of a relationship that began in 2012 and included 118 races and produced 16 podium finishes, including two wins apiece by Carpenter and Mike Conway, and one triumph by Josef Newgarden.

Fuzzy’s also was on Carpenter’s car when he qualified first for the Indianapolis 500 three times (2013, 2014 and 2018). Carpenter also finished a career-best second in this year’s 500.

“I am very appreciative and proud of the relationship between ECR and Fuzzy’s, really going back to before the team began,” Carpenter said in a statement. “It has been a good run and I wish them nothing but the best with their future endeavors.

“Tony George, Stuart Reed and I started ECR together back in 2012 and we are still committed now as we were then to winning Indy 500s and competing for IndyCar Series championships.

“Our plans for 2019 and beyond remain unchanged and I cannot wait to see what we accomplish together moving forward.”

In addition to Carpenter – the only owner/driver in the IndyCar Series – and Pigot returning for 2019, Jones has replaced Jordan King, who was not retained.

Jones will drive under a new partnership between ECR and Scuderia Corsa for the 12 road and street courses on the 2019 IndyCar schedule, as well as in the Indy 500.

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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.

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).