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Slight contact interrupts Harvey, Shank’s first day at Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS – Rookie Jack Harvey’s first day at the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, in the No. 50 Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport Honda, has not been an easy one.

The past Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series runner-up and 2015 Freedom 100 race winner has completed the first of three phases of his Rookie Orientation Program but is questionable to return to the track for the final hour of practice.

The ROP requires drivers to complete 10 laps at 205-210 mph, then 15 from 210-215 mph, then 15 at 215 plus. Harvey did 15 laps during the ROP two-hour session and 14 laps this afternoon, and thus far has a best speed of 214.473 mph. He fought through clutch issues this morning, but those were resolved.

Harvey was on the warmup lane coming out of the pit lane and the car appeared to go straight into the Turn 2 wall, with reportedly a break with the steering column that caused an odd-looking incident to the car, and damaged the right front tire and upright area.

“It’s been a pretty challenging day for what was meant to be an easy process,” Harvey said. “We had some issues this morning, but we had managed to work through them. To have that happen, and I don’t know what did happen apart from I went to turn in and it went straight.

“I was coming out of the pits. I wasn’t even going fast. I was probably not even going 100 mph. So bizarre. We had just done a long run and had pitted because there was a yellow flag and then had that – random. Hopefully it’s the last time we come to the medical center.”

The Shank crew was hard at work diagnosing the problem and then working to repair the car. Shank’s crew, that is on the Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, comprises most of this crew in tandem with Andretti Autosport.

If there’s a positive to take from this, Harvey managed to largely hang on without causing significant damage.

The Shank crew is renowned for its tireless work ethic through adverse situations. The line “Welcome to Indianapolis,” now proves appropriate for both driver and team’s first day here as a collective unit.

WATCH: Red Bull F1 team completes pit stop in zero gravity

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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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