Monday, May 27, 2013

Camera System Failure Leads To Bizarre Night At CMS

Author John Steinbeck said it best, “The best made plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Such was the case last night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, when the nylon drive rope used to propel FOX Sports’ overhead CamCat camera system snapped during the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600.
The nylon rope fell onto the race track and into the grandstands, causing minor injuries to 10 spectators and damaging the race cars of leader Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Denny Hamlin and Mark Martin. NASCAR threw the red flag to remove the rope from the race track, before announcing an unprecedented, 15-minute repair period for teams to fix what they called “relevant damage” from the incident.
“It was like getting attacked by a giant squid,’’ said Ambrose, who had a rear brake line torn loose by the rope. “It was flapping and I didn’t know what was going on. Then it got caught up in the rear end and I lost my brakes.”
Not since a sudden downpour caused a multi-car crash on the opening lap of the 2001 All Star Race has the sanctioning body suspended protocol and allowed teams to repair their cars under the red flag. NASCAR went a step further Sunday, ruling that each machine would return to the racetrack in the same place it had been running prior to the stoppage.
FOX anchorman Chris Myers quickly apologized for the delay, and the network issued an additional written statement, saying, “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.’’
Speedway officials confirmed that of the 10 injured fans, seven were treated and released at track Care Centers for minor cuts and abrasions. Three others were transported to a local hospital for observation and later released.


  1. I thought NASCAR handled that situation fairly. Who would have thought that a network partners equipment would interfere with the outcome of a race? NASCAR did its best to undo what was accidentally done.

  2. Anonymous7:19 PM

    I was there and NASCAR was very slow throwing the caution flag. The rope broke, and the cars ran 3 or 4 laps before the caution. I realize it was unexpected, so the NASCAR spotters around the track may not have seen it quickly. If they had spotted it right away, they may have been able to avoid the car damage.

  3. Anonymous8:57 AM

    Funny thing is, watching the All-Star race my self and friends we're talking about the perceived fact that the camera was travelling much farther than in the past. The cabling was much longer. And what could happen is it broke. Sounds like the fans were very fortunate. Was it in fact longer? And if so, did they strengthen it?

  4. Geosez10:31 AM

    Actually, it was the Scottish poet, Robert Burns:
    "The best laid schemes o' mice and men Gang aft agley;
    An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy!"

    And I also think NASCAR did the best they could with what they had.

  5. That was certainly bizarre. I am sure FOX will determine exactly what happened so it does not occur again. Just glad the fans are all out of the hospital.

    I did have to chuckle when Chris Myers was trying so hard not to use the word "cable" and came up with fiber. Not fiber cable, just "fiber" on its own as if something floated in on a gentle breeze. Gotta love those sportscasters - clever bunch.

  6. Well, tragedy is always one step ahead of us. It's a good thing that none of the fans were hurt badly though.
    Ed of