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Rope can’t stop Kyle Busch in 600, but engine failure does

Sunday, May. 26, 2013

The falling rope from an overhead camera used in Fox’s telecast didn’t end Kyle Busch’s night. Engine failure did.

That didn’t stop Sprint Cup driver Busch from saying his piece about the accident that ripped up his Toyota’s body 121 laps into the Coca-Cola 600.

“Maybe now we can get rid of that thing,” Busch said of the camera Fox suspended over Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The rope that guides Fox’s “CamCat” fell to the track, causing damage to Busch’s right-front fender and other problems. Cars driven by Marcos Ambrose and Mark Martin also suffered damage, but Busch – who was leading the race at the time – had his car catch the worst of it.

“I didn’t see anything. I just heard a big ‘thunk’ on the right-front tire and thought the right-front tire blew out – that’s how hard it felt,” Busch said.

“It did have the effect of slowing my car down and I could feel it like, ‘Whoa, that’s weird!’ I don’t know that anybody has ever seen that.”

The bizarre accident also injured 10 fans when the rope fell into the stands near Turn 4. Seven were treated at the track; three others were taken to hospitals.

As unusual as this was, NASCAR chose to stop the race for 26 minutes, then it allowed each race team 15 minutes to pit, inspect possible damage and fix what they could.

Busch’s crew did such a good job that he stayed in contention alongside Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth.

“I commend NASCAR there in giving us all a chance to repair our cars from the damage,” Busch said. “My guys did a great job. They worked too hard … tonight to get us back out there with a car that was capable of running in the top five.”

The engine blew in Busch’s car right about the time Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car started leaking fluid – 259 laps into the race. Busch’s team went to the garage but couldn’t fix what was wrong, ending the night for what had been a contending car.

He finished 38th.

Busch said the engine problems were unrelated to the previous incident, but that didn’t make him feel any better about all the misfortune.

“I felt like we were a third-, fourth-, fifth-place car there, depending on how the race was going to unfold,” Busch said.

“Certainly (Kahne and Kenseth) were the class of the field. We led some laps (65). Then catastrophic engine failure – just unfortunate.

“I hate it that it happens like that – seems to be that time of year again for us anyway.

“What do you do? You just have to suffer through it and it’s a shame because (the crew) has to suffer through it. We feel like we’re one of the best teams out here and we can barely salvage staying in the top 10 in points because of stupid things like this happening – flat tires and everything else that keeps us out of Victory Lane.”