A support cable used on a television camera over the Charlotte Motor Speedway came loose Sunday night during the Coca-Cola 600 damaging several racecars and halting the event for approximately 26 minutes.
The incident began on lap 123 of the 400 lap event when a nylon rope used to guide part of a remote camera called the ‘CamCat’ that slides along the front stretch came loose and fell onto the track. Leader Kyle Busch caught part of the nylon rope causing damage to his Toyota; behind him driver Marcos Ambrose also hit part of the rope. Other cars were also damaged and NASCAR immediately put the field under caution.
Soon the field was brought down pit road and the race red flagged. After 10 minutes NASCAR made the call to put the field under caution again and brought the field around for one lap before parking them yet again for another 16 minutes during which all teams were allowed to make whatever repairs they wanted to their cars. The field was restarted in the order they were running just prior to the caution flag for the rope.
During the second red flag track crews secured the camera and the device spent the rest of the race suspended over the infield. The speedway said ten fans were injured during the incident with the injuries coming from the turn 4 grandstand. The speedway said seven were treated on site for minor cuts and scrapes and three people were transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.
Fox later issued a statement explaining what happened and expressing concern for the injured fans:
“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 statement read.
“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,” the statement added. “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.”
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