Talk about a “TV timeout.” A cable that is part of an overhead camera system fell across the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, injuring 10 fans, damaging several cars and delaying the NASCAR race for over half an hour.
The cable, a nylon rope that was part of the rigging used to guide an overhead camera along the front stretch, fell across the track on Lap 126 of the 400-lap race. FOX Sports released a statement saying the network did not immediately know what caused the camera driveline to fail. Three people were transported to a local hospital for observation, while seven were treated at the track hospital and released.
On the race track, drivers reacted to the wire hanging on the catch fence. One of the most directly affected by the incident was Kyle Busch, who said his car was “killed” after running over the broken cable. Busch told his crew, “Something fell apart, And, of course, it fell apart on us.” Busch’s crew managed to get the car back on the track at the restart, but the driver was forced to retire with engine trouble 130 laps later and he finished 38th.
The Coca-Cola 600 got back underway after a delay of approximately 40 minutes and Kevin Harvick went on to win the race, followed by Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch. Harvick said he knew coming in that it was “going to be a long night, you’re going to have to survive,” but he wasn’t quite ready for a broken TV cable across the race track.
“The first time I drove by I said, Hell, my career is over, my eyes have taken a crap,” Harvick said of the incident. “I saw this streak go by me. What in the Hell was that? I got to the start/finish line, I eased off the gas, I was hoping it wasn’t my last race. I always have this thing with my eyes.”
After that, Harvick said it was all about grinding it out and driving smart.
“(You) just keep yourself on the lead lap (and) not make any mistakes,” he said. “In the end (the car) was good enough to win the race. That’s all that matters.”
After the race, everyone seemed more focused on the fallen-cable incident than any other incident on the track. Kahne said the whole thing was almost surreal.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “I came around Turn 4, saw it wrapped around Kyle’s car, (and it) hit mine. I thought I was seeing things.”
It was not a good day for Sprint Cup Series points leader Jimmie Johnson. He finished well back in the field in 22 place, but managed to remain at the top of the driver standings though losing ground to Carl Edwards, who now trails by 32 points, and Matt Kenseth, who 51 points back.
The FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks is next up on the 2013 Sprint Cup schedule. The race will be held on The Monster Mile, Dover International Raceway, in Dover, Delaware, on June 2.
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
A dejected Kyle Busch surveys the damage to his car after he ran over a fallen TV cable during the Coca-Cola 600, at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26, 2013. Busch radioed his crew saying his car was “killed” after driving over the debris