Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates Darrell Wallace Jr. (pictured) and Erik Jones led the way in a pair of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice sessions today at Phoenix International Raceway.
“Bubba” topped the opening practice this afternoon with a lap of 131.569 mph in the No. 54 Toyota Tundra, while Jones – who announced today a full-time deal with KBM and part-time XFINITY Series deal with Joe Gibbs Racing for next season – led the faster second practice this evening with a lap of 134.509 mph in the No. 51 Toyota.
The two main championship contenders, points leader Matt Crafton and Ryan Blaney, were toward the top of the time sheets in the first practice with Blaney in second and Crafton in third.
They slipped back a little bit in the second practice but were still right next to each other: Crafton in seventh, Blaney in eighth. Crafton leads Blaney in the standings by 23 points with two races remaining in the season.
An incident in the second practice will force Red Horse Racing’s German Quiroga to go to a backup truck for Friday’s Truck Series activities at PIR, which include qualifying at 6:45 p.m. ET and the Lucas Oil 150 race at 8:30 p.m. ET.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Phoenix – First Practice Times
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Phoenix – Second Practice Times
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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