That Time When the Team Photo During Indy 500 Practice Caused a Crash

There are few better ways to capture a moment in time than a group photo. Unfortunately, coordinating everyone involved can be a hassle, and that hassle becomes even bigger if everyone involved has to be driving an IndyCar at speed. Rahal Letterman Lanigan really wanted their group photo, though, so they sent their three cars out together. Onto a hot track, in the middle of practice for the Indianapolis 500. Predictably, this led to a car in the wall.

REPLAY: Early contact during @FoldsofHonor @RedGoldTomatoes #Indy500 practice today between @ColtonHerta and @smclaughlin93.

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Yes, RLL’s photo set-up involved all three of their cars running alongside each other at speed during the fastest lap in modern auto racing. Yes, turn four at Indianapolis is effectively blind to drivers. As a direct result, the three cars behind all had to react immediately to avoid a crash. Paretta Autosport’s Simona de Silvestro and Penske Racing’s Scott McLaughlin both slowed in time, but that left the third car behind the RLL cars, Colton Herta, with nowhere to go but the wall.

Herta, fortunately, avoided a significant crash after bouncing off the wall and nearly careening at speed into McLaughlin and de Silvestro. He reported after the incident that his car was not too damaged and returned to the track within the next hour, with no need to throw out the team’s primary car two days before the most important qualifying session of the year. Nonetheless, he was predictably unhappy with the team that caused the incident

RLL was penalized 30 minutes of track time early in today’s Fast Friday qualifying prep session for causing the incident, which led co-owner Bobby Rahal to comment to the Associated Press that he was being penalized for something Roger Penske’s cars had done in an earlier practice session. That argument did not hold up to scrutiny for long; Team Penske executive Tim Cindric spoke to the same outlet today, sharing that Penske Racing only does their group photos during a five minute allotted warm-up lap period on the first day of practice and does not bother with the photo if it would create an issue.

From: Road & Track

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