Five things to watch for in Iowa 300

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The NTT IndyCar Series visits its third oval of the season as they hit the short track of Iowa Speedway. Simon Pagenaud won the Indy 500 with Josef Newgarden victorious on the fast 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway. Oval tracks can be unpredictable, so this week could produce another new winner.

Last week’s watchlist was quite accurate, predicting that Newgarden and Alexander Rossi would finish close to one another (they were one position apart), that Scott Dixon would rebound into the top five (he finished second), and that Pagenaud would make up points on the leaders (he won).

Here are some of the storylines to watch this Sunday

  1. Newgarden enters the Iowa race with a current three-race streak of top-fives this season. Newgarden should easily add to his run of strong results since he has finished sixth or better in his last five Iowa races.
  2. Graham Rahal has a great chance to keep his current five-race, top-10 streak alive this week. He has eight such finishes in 11 races on this lightning fast short track.
  3. Last week’s suggestion that Newgarden and Rossi would finish close to one another proved accurate so it’s time to double down. Newgarden’s fourth-place finish was one spot short of Rossi in third. In the past three races, Newgarden and Rossi have not finished more than two positions different and can be expected to  run together again at Iowa.
  4. James Hinchliffe came close to cracking the top five for the first time in 2019 at Toronto. Hinchliffe’s sixth-place finish there was his third of the season. Now it’s on to Iowa where he is the defending winner from 2018; he also won in 2013. Those are his only two top-fives in seven attempts on this track.
  5. If Tony Kanaan is going to get a second top-10 this season, Iowa is a good venue for it to occur. Seven of Kanaan’s last nine races on this track have ended in results of ninth or better included a five-race streak of podium finishes from 2010 through 2014.

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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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