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Robert Wickens gets help needed to rejoin IndyCar’s first iRacing event

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After being scratched from the entry list of IndyCar’s first virtual event Thursday, Robert Wickens now seems to be all set to compete in Saturday’s race at Watkins Glen International.

Wickens had tweeted Thursday evening that the company initially set to provide him with the steering wheel with dual-axis analog paddles and a hydraulic handbrake had backed out and asked if anyone in the Indianapolis area would be able to help.

Fortunately, it appears that several kind members of the racing community arrived to save the day.

As first reported by Robin Miller of RACER, Gary Bettenhausen’s twin sons, Cary and Todd; Jim Leo of Pit Fit; Max Papis; and Steve Fusek and SimXperience all pitched in to provide the necessary equipment for Wickens to race.

Cary, who works at Pit Fit, offered the simulator for Wickens to race on, and Todd is providing hardware to ensure Wickens can use hand controls to race.

Papis is overnighting a steering wheel for Wickens to use, and Fusek loaned the motor to power it.

So long as the equipment is set up and Wickens is ready to race by Saturday’s 4 p.m. ET Saturday, Wickens will be allowed to compete, IndyCar vice president of communications Mike Zizzo confirmed to NBCSports.com.

If Wickens is able to compete online, it will be his first de-facto IndyCar start since he suffered spinal injuries in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway.

Wickens, who has been promised a ride by Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt if he is able to recover and return to racing, has become one of the most popular drivers in IndyCar while documenting his rehabilitation.

Last week, he caused an inspirational stir on Twitter with a video doing 10 pushups alongside his dog, James (on National Puppy Day).

The American Red Cross Grand Prix will be live-streamed on a variety of platforms including IndyCar.com, IndyCar’s YouTube and Facebook as well as iRacing’s Twitch.

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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).