When you first start the engine, it fires the spark plug on both the compression and the exhaust strokes. By measuring ionization at the spark plug, it determines which is exhaust and which is compression (combustion). After a few revolutions, it "knows" when to fire the plugs on compression stroke only.
Not having had that happen on my car, I don't know for sure... but I suspect that a bad "cam-position sensor" won't prevent it from starting. Or at least beginning to start, fire, sputter, etc.
PS. Since this post has taken off, I'll ask Scott to move it over to the NG900/OG9.3 board where it belongs. You are talking about a 2000 9.3 vert, right?
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