RLL penalized 30 minutes practice time on Fast Friday for photo op maneuver

INDIANAPOLIS — The Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan trio will miss the first 30 minutes of Fast Friday practice from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That’s because of their photo op maneuver that took place right after the green flag dropped on Day 3 of practice for next Sunday’s 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network).

All three cars came out of pit lane and were trying to replicate a photo of all three of them crossing the yard of bricks simultaneously. The problem was, that was a dangerous proposition.

They alerted no one says the NTT IndyCar Series and it showed. Simona de Silvestro was running low in Turn 4 and at a very slow rate to speed. She did so because the RLL trio were in front of her a ways and they were running even slower. She did right to not speed through their photo so she slowed up.

Same for Scott McLaughlin. He did the same but was a lane or two higher than de Silvestro. No one alerted Colton Herta. He came flying through the north end and had to make a quick maneuver to the outside to avoid getting into both de Silvestro and/or McLaughlin. By doing so, he went high but unfortunately scrapped the wall as a result.

“So I saw Scott (McLaughlin) and Simona (de Silvestro) come out in front of me. At first I thought they were doing pit stop practice, but they came around for a lap,” Herta later would say. “I thought they were on a run. They were quite a bit ahead of me. Seemed like they were up to speed. Then lost sight of them going through three, they were exiting four.

“As I was exiting four, they were probably going like 150, 160. The three up front were probably going 90 to 100 miles an hour.”

Herta, was able to drive his car back to pit lane and said the damage was quite minimal in fact. He would get out though and walk down to have a conversation with McLaughlin thinking he was at fault not realizing at the time McLaughlin was checking up due to what RLL was doing.

“I went down there and talked to him, just told him how I felt,” said Herta. “My opinion hasn’t changed. But like I said, I’m just glad that it’s over, ready to be facing forward.

Herta says that hopefully some good can come out of this.

“Hopefully we can allot some times in the beginning of sessions or later in the day if teams would like to do this sort of thing,” he said of the situation moving forward.

RLL though didn’t seem too thrilled to be penalized. Their side is that they were just doing what Team Penske did on opening day. The only difference is, Penske told others what they were doing and they did so during the five minute installation lap allotment, not during a green track.

RLL violated rule 9.3.1 improper conduct hence the penalty.

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