A falling camera cable that wound up damaging cars and hurting 10 fans during last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 certainly is one of the most-bizarre things that’s ever happened in a NASCAR race.
Since the first race in 1948 there have been a lot of crazy things that have happened before, during and after a race.
Some, however, are more memorable than others, like:
EXPLODING JET DRYER: When it comes to strange, nothing in racing can compare to Juan Pablo Montoya’s collision with a jet dryer during the 2012 rain-delayed Daytona 500.
Montoya was trying to catch up with the field during a caution with 40 laps remaining when something broke in his car.
His red Chevrolet veered right and slammed into a truck pulling a jet dryer. The collision ignited 200 gallons of kerosene and created a two-hour delay to put out the fire and repair the track.
Neither Montoya nor the driver of the truck was seriously injured.
FALLING CAMERA CABLE: All right, when a half-mile-long rope that operates an overhead camera falls on the track and in the grandstands, it clearly becomes an unusual event in racing. But when the rope gets wrapped up under and around 190 mph race cars like a bungee cord, it creates the kind of memory Fox Sports would rather everyone forgets.
Several cars were damaged by the rope. Ten fans also were hurt, many of them after they grabbed the rope as the speeding cars got tangled in the mess to create a dangerous backlash.
NASCAR stopped the race for nearly 30 minutes and allowed every team affected by the rope to fix their cars without penalty.
FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL: The last thing Todd Szegedy expected when he exited the fourth turn during pole qualifying was a 20-foot-wide ball bouncing on the race track.
An approaching storm knocked an air-filled balloon for race sponsor Tropicana from its moor and onto the track at Chicagoland Speedway in 2004.
Szegedy managed to steer around the bouncing ball, but the rest of time trials were called off.
DEER HUNTER: Neil Bonnett was running practice laps along the Long Pond straightaway at Pocono Raceway one year when something jumped in front of him. He wasn’t sure what he hit until he got back to the garage and found a deer leg embedded in his grille.
Pocono is known for all sorts of wildlife running on the track. In 1991 a chicken ran onto the track in the first turn.
And in 1993 a man ran onto the track and was nearly struck by Kyle Petty and Davey Allison.
The man eventually jumped over the wall and tried to escape in a nearby swamp. Police finally caught him and charged him with two felonies and three misdemeanors.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: While these didn’t make the top five, they’re worth mentioning. After all, who could forget:
• The pot hole during the 2010 Daytona 500 that caused more than two hours of delays.
• The stolen pace car at Talladega, Ala., during the invocation. A man ran nearly three laps before he finally was stopped in the fourth turn.
• Dale Earnhardt hitting a seagull during the 1991 Daytona 500. The bird punched a hole in his front bumper, and forced him to give up the lead.
• Infield sprinkler turning on during the race last April at the Richmond International Raceway.
• The hauler carrying the car for JTG Daugherty was too high for the third-turn tunnel at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It ripped off some of the roof and got wedged in the tunnel.