NASCAR Nationwide Series championship leader Chase Elliott has scored his second pole of 2014 for tonight’s Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Elliott’s lap of 181.354 mph in the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet was set early in the final round of knockout qualifying and was able to stand up over Matt Kenseth’s lap of 180.977 mph in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
It’s the perfect place to be for Elliott, who will try to extend his 38-point lead in the championship this evening. Elliott can win the title with a Top-5 finish in each of the final four races.
Behind Elliott and Kenseth in Row 2 will be Richard Childress Racing’s Brian Scott and JGR’s Elliott Sadler. Kyle Busch, who’s won back-to-back Nationwide Series races, shall try to make it three in a row from the inside of Row 3 alongside Sprint Cup super-rookie Kyle Larson.
Another Cup rookie, Alex Bowman, will line up in Row 4 with Trevor Bayne. Ryan Reed and Brad Keselowski will start from Row 5.
Regan Smith, Elliott’s closest pursuer in the title race, is starting farther back from 22nd in the field. That may not bode well for his battle for second place in the standings with Ty Dillon, who qualified 11th. Smith is only up by two points over Dillon.
Green flag for tonight’s 300-miler is scheduled to drop shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET.
NASCAR Nationwide Series at Charlotte – Starting Lineup
The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.
With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.
Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.
With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.
“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!
“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”
Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.
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