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Fox Cable Snaps, Stops Race And Injures Fans

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 26 2013

Race officials clear the track of cable used to support a Fox television camera at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Ten spectators were injured by the incident. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

CONCORD, N.C. – Ten people were injured Sunday night during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway when a rope cable used by FOX to guide its CamCat overhead camera system broke and fell over the fourth turn grandstands.

A statement released by speedway officials said seven fans were treated for minor cuts and scrapes at track care centers and released. Three people were transported to an area hospital for further evaluation.

The rope cable snapped on lap 121 of the 400-lap event. In addition to the grandstands, part of it fell onto the 1.5-mile track. Leader Kyle Busch’s Toyota caught the lose cable with its right front quarter panel, causing severe damage.

Mark Martin’s Toyota flipped the cable back under Marcos Ambrose’s Ford, which had to pit with part of the cable dragging behind it. Several other drivers reported damage to their cars as well.

Martin Truex Jr. said he initially thought the TV rope cable was someone’s tire shredding.

NASCAR brought the cars to pit road and stopped them so the broken rope cable could be collected. That red flag lasted 10 minutes 40 seconds.

NASCAR then decided the teams would be allowed to repair their damaged cars. That was considered a second red flag period and lasted 16 minutes 22 seconds. NASCAR then placed the cars in the positions they had held when the yellow flag was displayed for the restart.

FOX released the following statment:

“At this time, we do not have a cause for the failure of the camera drive line that interrupted tonight’s Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and our immediate concern is with the injured fans.

“The camera system consists of three ropes – a drive rope which moves the camera back and forth, and two guide ropes on either side. The drive rope failed near the Turn 1 connection and fell to the track. The camera itself did not come down because guide ropes acted as designed. A full investigation is planned, and use of the camera is suspended indefinitely.

“This camera system had been used successfully at this year’s Daytona 500, last week’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and other major events around the world. We certainly regret that the system failure affected tonight’s event, we apologize to the racers whose cars were damaged, and our immediate concern is for the race fans. We also offer a sincere ‘thank you’ to the staff at CMS for attending to the injuries and keeping us informed on this developing situation.

“When we have more information on the cause of the equipment failure, we will share it with you immediately.”

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 26 2013
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