INDIANAPOLIS — A photo opportunity for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team caused the first hiccup in preparations for the Indianapolis 500 when Colton Herta and Scott McLaughlin nearly crashed Thursday.
The track opened as scheduled for practice, and defending race winner Takuma Sato slowed alongside Indy 500 teammates Graham Rahal and Santino Ferrucci for a three-wide photo opportunity on the frontstretch.
McLaughlin saw the three RLL cars had slowed to a crawl ahead of him and adjusted his speed as he drove through the fourth turn. But Herta was unaware and had to quickly dive inside of McLaughlin alongside the wall to avoid a full collision.
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Both Herta and McLaughlin immediately returned to pit lane to check for potential repairs, with Herta estimating he would miss at least an hour of practice.
“I’m doing 220 [mph] and coming through the corner and these idiots are doing 170, it’s just ridiculous,” Herta said.
McLaughlin spoke with Herta after.
“The Rahal cars were trying to get a nice little photo and I just checked up, and Colton came through and he caught me very quickly and it’s hard to check up,” McLaughlin said. “I don’t really know what happened. It’s the first lap of the morning.”
IndyCar and RLL did not immediately respond to questions regarding the three cars staging for a photo on a hot track.