Jimmie Johnson wants to drive in IndyCar race on July 4 at Indianapolis

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NASCAR and IndyCar might have found the next driver ready to do “The Double” – with a twist.

Jimmie Johnson told NBC Sports’ Leigh Diffey in a Friday interview (video above) that he will take a “very hard look” at racing in the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course July 4. As part of IndyCar’s revamped schedule, the race was moved from May 9 and will take place directly before the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

The seven-time Cup Series champion will be in town to race the Brickyard 400 the following day.

“I think that would be an awesome opportunity,” Johnson told Diffey. “Clearly a lot of things to sort out, and I haven’t even asked permission yet to pull it off. But I love the idea and am so thankful Graham (Rahal) brought it up because I would have probably missed it and reacted too late.”

Rahal posted a Twitter video about the schedule yesterday and also tweeted about recruiting Johnson, who has expressed an interest in running IndyCar part time next season.

Johnson had planned to test at Barber Motorsports Park next month before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic brought racing to a standstill.

“What’s funny is (Rahal) was texting me yesterday,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, then I looked on Twitter and understood what he threw out there. I am so thankful he brought that up. I have not looked at the schedule. I know that IndyCar posted (a schedule), but with NASCAR’s schedule up in the air, my head wasn’t even around that.

“So if that is the case, and those weekends do line up, I’ll take a very hard look at it.”

Johnson said he would have to run the idea by Hendrick Motorsports.

“Definitely, there’s approvals on my side from my team, Mr. Hendrick, sponsors,” Johnson said. “It would be a Chevy, so that part would be pretty easy to pull off. That approval process would really be it.

“I’d find out pretty quickly. I’m not sure I’d ever get the answer I wanted, but I’d find out quickly.”

Rahal told NBCSports.com’s Bruce Martin in a Thursday interview about sending the tweet to Johnson: “We all know he is going to come here in the future. Right now, he wants to stay committed to his craft and what he is doing” in NASCAR.

Johnson already will be racing against IndyCar competition Saturday, having been added to the IndyCar iRacing Challenge that will be held at Watkins Glen International at 4 p.m. ET.

The July 4 weekend would mark the first IndyCar-NASCAR doubleheader, but there have been crossovers before.

There have been four drivers who raced “The Double” — running the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day: John Andretti (1994), Tony Stewart (1999, 2001), Robby Gordon (2000, ’02, ’03, ‘04) and Kurt Busch (2014).

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).