The pace car fire that broke out during a NASCAR race on Saturday night started in the trunk of the car. The trunk was housing the electrical kit that was purposely built into the trunk to handle the numerous caution lights on the pace car.
The incident started with some smoke, prompting the pace car driver, Brett Bodine, to pull over to the apron of the track. He did this just as the trunk burst into flames, according to USA Today on Feb. 16.
The fire broke out in the car just before the final segment of the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race at the Daytona International Speedway, which opens the season. Bodin said the car filled up with smoke and as soon as he got out, the back half of the car had flames shooting out of it.
The winner of the race, Denny Hamlin, said the saw the smoke, but at first thought the smoke was made by tires. He continued saying “And then I realized Brett was on a mission to find the emergency vehicle.”
If you have to have a car fire, there’s no better place for it than a NASCAR race where there is plenty of emergency help, which is easily accessible to douse a vehicle fire. That’s just what happened, the safety crews had the pace car fire out in no time. It's all in a day's work for those folks!
Both Bodine and his passenger exited the car safely just as the flames were rising up out of the trunk. Neither of the two were injured. A back-up pace car was brought in to finish and the rest was history. Just before the white flag flew, Hamlin won the race and the finish was uncontested. It would take more than a little pace car fire to through any of these professionals off their game!