Indy Lights

Indy Lights: Sowery collects maiden victory in Portland race 2

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.PORTLAND, Oregon – Toby Sowery claimed his maiden Indy Lights victory Sunday morning in race 2 of a doubleheader weekend at Portland International Raceway.

Starting the 35-lap event from the third position, Sowery made his way up to second when series point leader Oliver Askew overshot into Turn 1 and then made contact with David Malukas upon reentry to the racing surface.

The resulting contact brought out a caution, and on the race restart on Lap 4, Sowery passed leader Rinus VeeKay for the lead in the same corner.

Sowery held on to the lead for the remainder of the race despite a challenge from VeeKay in the remaining laps.

“You can see that VeeKay was really quick,” Sowery told NBC Sports following his victory. “But we had a different tire strategy, and the Cooper Tires done a fantastic job of keeping me in the race all the way to the end.

“Massive congratulations to the team. They deserved it.”

VeeKay finished second, while Oliver Askew made his way back up to third to complete the podium.

Askew now enters the final race weekend of the season with a 41-point lead in the standings, and only needs to start both races to be crowned the 2019 champion.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be over,” Askew said of his Lap 1 accident. “I wasn’t only fighting for a podium, I was fighting for the championship, and I think we clinched it there so it’s starting to soak in.

“This is what we’ve been working for all year, and I’m really proud of the whole team, myself and everyone around me that has put me in this position.  The emotions are starting to sink in now for sure.”

The Indy Lights championship now heads to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the final two races of the season on September 21 and 22. Both races will air live on NBC Sports Gold.

Click here for full race results

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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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