TV Camera Rope Falls and Injures Fans

Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch was among those that struck the rope. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

CONCORD, N.C. - A nylon rope attached to a FOX Sports camera fell on to the track during Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, injuring 10 fans, delaying the race and damaging some cars.

Charlotte Motor Speedway officials announced that 10 fans were injured. Seven were treated for cuts and scrapes and released from on-site care centers. Three were taken to an area hospital for further evaluation. All three were later released track officials announced.

Track officials stated the nylon rope was a guide for the network’s CamCat overhead camera system.

The race was stopped on lap 127 of 400. Teams were allowed to go to their pit box for a 15-minute break to make repairs to any “relevant damage.’’

FOX broadcaster Chris Myers apologized during the broadcast for the delay. The race was stopped 27 minutes, 2 seconds by two red flags for the incident.

FOX issued a statement during the race:

“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.FOX Cam

“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.’’

Busch was among those that struck the rope. His car suffered right front damage when the rope got wrapped around the wheel well. NASCAR stopped cars on pit road to clear the rope from the track. He exited his car and got a camera phone to take pictures of the damage and gave to the crew before NASCAR decided to give all teams 15 minutes to repair “relevant damage’’ from the incident.

Cars that were damaged included Busch, Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin and Marcos Ambrose.

“We just got our work cut out for us,’’ crew chief Dave Rogers told Busch after inspecting the pictures.

The rope got underneath Ambrose’s car and and caused a brake line to go loose. Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer told Ambrose they repaired it.

“It was like getting attacked by a giant squid,’’ Ambrose said. “It was just flapping and I didn’t know what was going on. I thought it was cords coming out of maybe one of the 55’s tires or something, but I could just hear it flapping. And then it got caught up in the rear end and I lost my brakes, so it was a nightmare but we got through it.’’

NASCAR aligned the field after the delay as they were when the caution came out, so Ambrose and others did not lose any positions.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup

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