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NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 delayed after cable snaps

George Diaz | En Fuego

Orlando Sentinel

8:35 PM EDT, May 26, 2013

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CONCORD _ NASCAR drivers can now relate to cable problems.

An overhead camera cable snapped and fell over the grandstands in the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday night, forcing race officials to stop the race for nearly a half-hour to clean up the debris and allow pit crews to fix the damage on some cars.

Charlotte Motor Speedway officials said 10 spectators were also injured, including three who were transported to an area hospital for further evaluation and seven who were treated for minor cuts and scrapes on-site.

The most painful hit suffered by a driver involved Kyle Busch, who was leading the race after 123 laps when the cable tore into his right side fender.

“They're going to have to disassemble that thing and take it down,” Busch said before the stoppage. “They're going to have to throw the red [flag] here."

After the race was halted, Busch got out of his No. 18 Toyota Camry to take a picture of the  front end of the car and sent it out via Twitter.

The cars of Mark Martin and Marcos Ambrose also suffered damage.

Overall, there were two stoppages involving 18 laps.

The first stop lasted 10:40. The second one 16:22.

“I heard something that I didn’t know if I shredded a tire or what happened. It was the cable,” Tony Stewart said. “You ought to see the mark where it went across the windshield.”

The delay added to the long grind of NASCAR’s longest race of the season, expecting to last 4 and a half hours Sunday night.

Grab a Snickers bar. It might be a while.

Shortly after the incident, FOX Sports released this statement:

"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."

 George Diaz can be reached at gdiaz@orlandosentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @georgediaz