Motorsport: Scott McLaughlin avoids IndyCar crash, as rivals pose for team photo during practice

Kiwi IndyCar driver Scott McLaughlin has narrowly escaped disaster at practice for the Indianapolis 500, avoiding a crash with rival Colton Herta.

As practice began, the trio of Rahal Letterman Lanigan drivers aligned across the track on the opening lap, posing for a team photo on the Indianapolis straight.

The three cars' reduced pace forced McLaughlin to follow suit, as he came through turn four, but  was lucky to avoid serious contact, as Herta overtook him.

Both cars were forced to return to the pit-lane, with Herta needing repairs, before he could return to the track.

"The Rahal cars were trying to get a nice little photo and I just checked up," McLaughlin says. “Colton came through and he caught me very quickly, and it's hard to check-up. 

"I don't really know what happened. It's the first lap of the morning.''

Herta was less understanding in his appraisal of the near miss.

"It turns out going three-wide for a photo op during practice isn't ideal," he says. “They're going 100mph (160kph) on the front straight, while guys are going 220 (355kph).

"Whoever's in charge of that at Rahal is a complete idiot and is just risking everybody's lives out here. It's the stupidest thing I've ever seen.

"Luckily, we got away with it easy - the car should be okay. I just pancaked the wall lightly and was glad I didn't take out Scott. 

"I'm not mad with him, but those Rahal guys ruined everything!"

McLaughlin returned to practice an hour later and recorded the fifth-fastest time of the session at the day's halfway stage.

Compatriot Scott Dixon was the fastest on track through his 27 laps, as his Chip Ganassi team held the top four spots at practice.