Josef Newgarden enjoys first visit to Kentucky Derby

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The Kentucky Derby always attracts a variety of famous guests, including actors and actresses, musicians and athletes from every sport.  One such guest at this year’s Derby competes in a different form of racing.

2017 NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and fiancé Ashley Welch attended their first Derby today, and NBC Sports’s Rutledge Wood and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were on hand to ask Newgarden and Welch about their first Derby experience.

“I’m impressed! This is like a little mini Indianapolis 500,” Newgarden told Wood.

“It’s a smaller space, so they have to jam everyone in. It’s incredible.”

Newgarden will soon begin the Month of May at Indianapolis, which includes the IndyCar Grand Prix next Saturday, May 11th and then the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 26th – both on NBC.

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NBCSN will present ‘Race and Sports in America: Conversations’ Monday

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With motor racing reckoning with its own issues of diversity and equality, “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” will tackle the topics of social justice with several athletes. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Monday, July 13 on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic channel and on regional sports networks.

The roundtable discussions will be hosted by Damon Hack and feature Charles Barkley, Steph Curry, Jimmy Rollins and Ozzie Smith in one segment. The other segment will include Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Lynn, Troy Mullins and James Blake.

Race has been a major topic in motorsports this year.

NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its race after lobbying by Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the premier Cup Series. In Formula One, six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton has joined Black Lives Matter marches in London and also formed a panel on diversity. The lone Black driver in F1 also led 14 of 20 drivers taking a knee before the season opener in Austria.