Charlotte Motor Speedway

Fan hurt in cable cam incident at 2013 Coke 600 sues Charlotte Motor Speedway, Fox Sports

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NASCAR fan Patrick Carpenter, who was injured at the 2013 Coca-Cola 600 when a guide rope for an overhead TV camera snapped and fell into the stands, has sued Charlotte Motor Speedway and Fox Sports.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Carpenter, who sat in Turn 4 at the race, filed suit last week in Randolph County, North Carolina and is seeking more than $10,000 in damages.

He alleges that he suffered permanent impairment to his right arm because of the incident and that both Charlotte Motor Speedway and Fox Sports were negligent in inspecting the overhead camera rig. Neither the track nor Fox chose to comment on the suit.

The rope also fell onto the racing surface and caused significant damage to several cars as they ran over it, including those of Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, and Marcos Ambrose. The incident forced the race into a delay of almost half an hour, and 10 fans were treated for injuries.

While Fox’s own investigation into the incident was ongoing, NASCAR suspended the use of aerial camera systems for all of its media partners in July of 2013.

Today’s Observer quotes a Fox spokesman as saying that results of the investigation cannot be made public due to litigation.

NASCAR: Xfinity driver Daniel Suarez, ex-NFL WR Willie Gault win Gridiron Challenge (VIDEO)

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A four-wide dash on the final lap ended with Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity driver Daniel Suarez and former NFL wide receiver Willie Gault taking the checkered flag to win NBC Sports’ NASCAR Gridiron Racing Challenge presented by Toyota.

The 20-lap race ended a series of competitions involving six tandems of NASCAR drivers and ex-NFL players at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Before the serious business began, the day started with a laugh as Joe Gibbs himself jokingly gave the football greats something he figured they may need: Diapers.

The players then ran in single-car qualifying on the 1.5-mile oval to begin the Challenge. Rod Smith, another former NFL receiver, paired with JGR Sprint Cup driver Kyle Busch, ran the fastest time:

Then came the second event: A football throwing competition for the NASCAR drivers, where every ball through a target meant seconds taken off their respective player’s qualifying time.

Busch bested Suarez in their head-to-head match-up – probably a given as Suarez admitted beforehand that he had never thrown a football before.

As for the other match-ups, Michael Waltrip Racing’s Clint Bowyer topped JGR newcomer Carl Edwards …

… and Denny Hamlin defeated Matt Kenseth, even with the latter earning three points for putting a late throw through the deepest target.

Edwards may have lost his duel with Bowyer, but his five passing points allowed him and NBC Sports’ Super Bowl XLIX pregame analyst Hines Ward to claim the pole position for the 20-lap race.

For this final event, the players rode along in the passenger seat as their driver teammates raced at more than 180 miles per hour. On the last lap, Suarez went to the inside of Busch/Smith, Bowyer/Christian Okoye, and Kenseth/Doug Flutie as they all barreled into Turn 3.

As Bowyer slipped back, Suarez passed Busch for the lead in Turn 4 and went on to victory.

The ex-NFL stars all came away impressed not just with the speeds, but with the precision that’s needed to drive a race car. During the halfway intermission of the race, Smith had this to say about riding shotgun with Busch:

The Super Bowl XLIX pregame show on NBC will feature a segment of the Gridiron Challenge. Pregame coverage from Arizona begins Sunday at Noon ET.

NASCAR Gridiron Racing Challenge presented by Toyota
Charlotte Motor Speedway – Results

1. 18-Daniel Suarez/Willie Gault
2. 15-Clint Bowyer/Christian Okoye
3. 18-Kyle Busch/Rod Smith
4. 20-Matt Kenseth/Doug Flutie
5. 19-Carl Edwards/Hines Ward
6. 11-Denny Hamlin/Brian Mitchell

WATCH LIVE: NASCAR Gridiron Challenge pres. by Toyota at 10 p.m. ET

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Friday night’s NASCAR programming on NBCSN concludes with the premiere of the NASCAR Gridiron Challenge presented by Toyota, a one-hour special that has six retired NFL greats team up with six of Toyota’s top NASCAR drivers.

You can watch the Gridiron Challenge at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN, but if you can’t be near a TV, then you can STREAM IT online and on your mobile device through NBC Sports Live Extra.

The NFL legends will learn to drive official Toyota race cars at the Richard Petty Driving Experience, while the group of NASCAR drivers will take part in a passing competition where they must throw footballs through a Toyota target.

The series culminates with a 20-lap race around Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the former NFL players will sit in the passenger seat alongside NASCAR drivers as they race around the track at speeds up to 180 miles per hour.

NBC Sports’ Super Bowl XLIX pregame analyst Hines Ward is among the ex-NFL stars that took part. For a full list of players and drivers in the Gridiron Challenge, CLICK HERE.

NFL legends join NASCAR stars in NBC Sports’ upcoming “Gridiron Challenge” (VIDEO)

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NBC Sports’ NASCAR Gridiron Challenge presented by Toyota, a one-hour special pairing NASCAR drivers with former NFL greats in a series of stock car races and a football challenge, debuts Friday, January 30, at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN, immediately following the NASCAR America Hall of Fame Special.

A capsule from the Gridiron Challenge will air as part of NBC’s Super Bowl XLIX pre-game show on Sunday, February 1, beginning at Noon ET.

The Gridiron Challenge features six retired NFL greats, including NBC Super Bowl XLIX pre-game analyst Hines Ward, suiting up to compete in races alongside current NASCAR stars at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Ward will be teamed up with Joe Gibbs Racing driver Carl Edwards. The other driver/player combos are: Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Doug Flutie; Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Brian Mitchell; Clint Bowyer (Michael Waltrip Racing) and Christian Okoye; Daniel Suarez (Joe Gibbs Racing – XFINITY Series) and Willie Gault; and Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Rod Smith.

The NFL legends will learn to drive official Toyota race cars at the Richard Petty Driving Experience, while the group of NASCAR drivers will take part in a passing competition where they must throw footballs through a Toyota target.

The series culminates with a 20-lap race, where the former NFL players will sit in the passenger seat alongside NASCAR drivers as they race around the track at speeds up to 180 miles per hour.

“The NASCAR Gridiron Challenge is a fun way to promote NASCAR and our upcoming coverage,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer of NBC Sports and NBCSN, in a NBC Sports Group release. “This event serves as an example of how numerous NBCUniversal platforms are using Super Bowl XLIX weekend to promote new programming.”

“Toyota has had a long-standing relationship with NASCAR as well as a presence in the Super Bowl with TV commercials and our sponsorship of the Toyota Halftime Report,” said Ed Laukes, Vice President of Marketing, Performance and Guest Experience for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.  “The NASCAR Gridiron Challenge was a natural partnership for us and we think everyone will enjoy seeing these two very different groups of athletes compete in an entirely new, and fun, way on the track and on the field.”

NASCAR on NBC lead announcer Rick Allen will call the action from Charlotte Motor Speedway, alongside NBC Sports Group’s motorsports team of NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Jeff Burton and Kyle Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s former crew chief Steve Letarte, and NASCAR America reporter Kelli Stavast. In addition, NASCAR team owner and three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Joe Gibbs will be present to give tutelage, and award the winners with their trophies.

NASCAR considers unveiling 2016 rules at Sprint All-Star Race in May

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CHARLOTTE – The Sprint All-Star Race often is described as a glorified test session for the Coca-Cola 600.

This year’s event at Charlotte Motor Speedway might be a test session for an entire season.

NASCAR heavily is considering using the May 16 showcase as a trial run of the rules package for the 2016 season and has begun informing Sprint Cup teams of the possibility, multiple sources have told MotorSportsTalk.

During a state of the sport address to open Monday’s Media Tour, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell noted the All-Star Race was the goal for unveiling the rules for next season. The 2015 rules were delivered in September, which O’Donnell said was the earliest release yet.

“We anticipate beating that marker in 2016, and we’ll look to bring the rules package to the teams as early as we can with a target date of around the All-Star Race for this year,” O’Donnell said.

An official with direct knowledge of the All-Star Race proposal said Charlotte Motor Speedway and Sprint were supportive of using the 2016 rules because it also would prevent teams from getting a jump on preparing for the Coca-Cola 600 and increasing the likelihood of a lackluster race. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan wasn’t finalized.

The Sprint All-Star Race could use a jolt of relevance. In nine editions since the repaving of Charlotte in 2006, there has been one lead during the final five laps of an event billed as promoting a no-holds-barred style. In the past three Sprint All-Star Races, the winner has led the final 10 laps.

But a potential drawback for NASCAR could be whether the sneak preview of the 2016 rules delivers a better version of the racing than with the current rules that will be featured over four hours the following week at Charlotte in the season’s longest race.

There’s no timetable for the decision on using next year’s rules in the All-Star Race, but NASCAR tested some ideas for next year during a session last month at Charlotte. More testing is expected to occur at Atlanta Motor Speedway next month and at Charlotte in March.

This year’s rules will feature a significant decline in downforce and a reduction of about 125 horsepower. Another cut in downforce is expected in 2016, which will make cars’ handling more difficult.