FOX Sports Exclusive
Fallen cabling hurts fans, halts race
NASCAR red-flagged the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon after a piece of TV cabling snapped across the tri-oval onto the racetrack on Lap 121, resulting in injuries to some fans and damage to race cars.
Charlotte Motor Speedway track officials issued a statement saying that, "Ten fans were injured when a nylon rope fell over the grandstands in Turn 4 on Lap 121 of tonight's race. Seven fans were treated from minor cuts and scrapes at on-site care centers and released. Three people were transported to an area hospital for further evaluation."
The three were released later in the evening.
Kyle Busch, who was leading the race at the time said, “Something fell apart and of course it fell apart on us.”
Crew chief Dave Rogers replied, “This is crazy if a TV camera just took us out.”
The cabling literally sliced the right side of Busch's car behind the wheel.
Following the incident FOX made this official statement:
"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."
Marcos Ambrose was the first car damaged and came down pit road with a broken brake line.
"I can see where it hit,” said Drew Blickensderfer, Ambrose's crew chief. “I would be fine starting the race with the way our car looks. Everything looks pretty good.”
NASCAR brought the cars down pit road and red-flagged the race at 7:41 p.m. local time and came back after nearly a half-hour delay.
“I heard something that I didn’t know if I shredded a tire or what happened. It was the cable,” Tony Stewart said. “You ought to see the mark where it went across the windshield.”
The top five cars were Busch, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards.
The initial red-flag period was 10 minutes and 40 seconds. During this, drivers were jumping out of their cars and running down pit road to take a break and figure out what was going on. A second red-flag period of 16 minutes and 22 seconds also slowed the action. According to NASCAR officials, teams were allowed to work on multiple cars that officials deemed to have been damaged by the cabling.
Busch later went out of the race with an engine failure. He said that the earlier incident did not have an impact on his mechanical failure and credited NASCAR with allowing his team to work on his car after it was damaged.
“I didn’t see anything, I just heard a big thump on the right front tire," he said. "I thought the right front tire blew out, that’s how hard it felt and what it felt like. It did have an effect of slowing my car down. I could feel it, like ‘Whoa.’ I don’t know that anybody’s ever seen that. Maybe now we can get rid of that thing.”
More Stories From Lee Spencer