Fox Still Investigating Camera Malfunction During NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600
Fox Sports on Monday said that the overhead camera cable that snapped during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday had "been in use less than a year and had been inspected by the contractor operating the TV rig when it was delivered in June 2012," according to a front-page piece by Scott, Washburn & Sheldon of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The incident at Charlotte Motor Speedway "injured at least 10 race fans." Fox in a statement said that the malfunction was the "first of its kind at a major sporting event." One of the three cables attached to a TV camera suspended over the start-finish stretch between Turns 4 and 1 "fell and landed on the track and the bottom rows of spectators." Cars on the track then "snagged the cable." Fox said that the rope is "used to pull the camera along two guide wires at speeds up to 45 mph." The net also said that the camera system "would not be used again until a technical review was completed, and results would be shared" with NASCAR and CMS. Overhead cameras are "commonly used during football games to track plays on the field." NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello said that he "knew of no history of malfunctions with such rigs" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/28). In Charlotte, Jones & Bonnell noted the falling rope caused damage to the cars of race leader Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose and delayed the race "about 26 minutes." The May 18 Sprint All-Star Race and Sunday's race were the "first time the system has been used" at CMS. NASCAR took a "rare step" during the red flag delay, allowing a "15-minute grace period for each crew to inspect its car and try and fix any damage." NASCAR then decided to "allow cars to regain their track position from before the rope's fall" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/27).
INSPECTING THE DAMAGE: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler wrote under the header, "Odd Incident With Camera Taints 600" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/27). Also in Charlotte, Jim Utter wrote, "Kudos to NASCAR for being able to find a workable solution when confronted with a difficult situation." NASCAR's grace period gave everyone "ample time to make the necessary repairs" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/27). ESPN.com's David Newton noted Busch during the delay "got out of his car, borrowed a cellphone camera and took pictures of the damage" caused by the rope (ESPN.com, 5/27).
TOUGH SELL: NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France said of potentially moving the Bank of America 500 to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, "My preference would be to keep the event here in Charlotte. That’s always been my preference." France said that SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith "hasn't raised the subject with NASCAR." He added that he is "predisposed to leaving the major events on the Sprint Cup schedule in their current locations." France also said that NASCAR has "no plans to expand the schedule or add new tracks." In Charlotte, Rick Bonnell noted CMS is "one of 13 tracks with multiple race weekends." Las Vegas currently hosts a Sprint Cup race in March and is "looking for another date in the fall." Smith can request a "race relocation, but ultimately it's NASCAR's call" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/26). The CHARLOTTE OBSERVER's Utter wrote NASCAR so far has "approved every realignment request since it instituted the policy but always has said it reserved the right to say no based on the best interests of the sport." Now that the NASCAR HOF is "up and running in Charlotte," its most-visited weeks of the year "are the three race weeks at CMS." Take one race away and the HOF will "lose a significant amount of revenue and attention." NASCAR has a "vested interest in making sure the Hall remains self-sufficient" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/26).