Joey Logano was still in good shape – somehow.
When a debris caution came out with 20 laps left in last November’s Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Logano was running sixth. This was despite losing track position on two earlier pit stops; at Lap 195, he needed extra repairs after he had brushed the wall, and with 45 laps left, a dropped lug nut caused him to fall out of the Top 10.
Yet here he was, still with an opportunity to defeat Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Newman for the Cup.
Strategies differed among the Championship 4 in the most critical pit stops of the season. Hamlin stayed out, while Newman (two tires), Harvick (four tires), and Logano (four tires) went in.
But Logano’s drive for a title ended in the pits. His No. 22 Team Penske Ford fell off the jack, knocking him out of contention. He finished 16th, while Harvick won the race and the championship.
The Homestead disaster is part of Logano’s one-on-one interview with NASCAR on NBC’s Marty Snider, which you’ll see in today’s episode of NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.
But for now, go to the top to watch a teaser clip of the interview, in which Logano discusses how he dealt with what occurred in South Florida.
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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