The 2014 Chevrolet SS pace car in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Unlimited exhibition race at Daytona got itself into trouble when a fire started inside its trunk. As the Fox Sports video above shows, smoke from the fire quickly engulfed the cabin and the driver, former NASCAR driver Brett Bodine, was lucky to get the car off the track and out of harm’s way with causing an accident.
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Chevrolet followed up with a statement on Sunday morning explaining that purpose-built electrical equipment for the pace car’s functions was to blame and not any issue with the SS sports sedan.
“The pace car experienced a fire in the trunk area, which contains a purpose-built auxiliary electrical kit to operate the numerous caution lights during the race,” the statement read. “The pace car driver and passenger safely exited the vehicle. An assessment is underway.”
The fire happened before the start of the final segment of the Sprint Unlimited race, but organizers had another pace car on hand so the race could continue unabated. The night saw plenty of action with a crash on lap 35, instigated by two-time Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth, taking out seven cars. The eventual winner was Joe Gibbs Racing star Denny Hamlin.
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Incidentally, this is the third strange mishap at the Daytona International Speedway in recent years. In 2012, Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into a jet dryer during the Daytona 500 race, causing a huge fireball, and in 2010 the Daytona 500 was delayed when organizers had to repair potholes in the track. The 2014 Daytona 500 takes place this Sunday, February 23.