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Pace car fire: Smoke billows out from car, NASCAR fans stunned at Sprint race

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A pace car fire stunned NASCAR fans this week after smoke suddenly billowed out from the back of a pace car at the Sprint Unlimited race. NASCAR officials are currently looking into the cause of the shocking incident, as moments after the driver was able to escape from the vehicle, the trunk burst into flames. UPI News shares this Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, that although no one was fortunately hurt in the frightening accident, the unexpected vehicle catching fire was certainly a shocking incident at the popular exhibition event.

This Saturday night at the Sprint Unlimited race, the pace car fire was no doubt the most alarming incident that NASCAR fans can attest to. Although flames can erupt in racing vehicles on occasion, it’s a fairly uncommon occurrence. The pace car driver, whose name is Brett Bodine, had driven his hot blue Chevrolet SS pace car onto the side of the Daytona International Speedway once smoke began billowing out from his car.

"Tower, we're on fire," he immediately radioed in.

Only moments after Bodine managed to escape from the vehicle, a number of flames erupted from the car’s trunk.

This Sunday morning, Chevrolet provided NASCAR fans visiting the Daytona International Speedway and the public at large with a formal statement on the pace car fire. It has been confirmed that the fire indeed originated from the trunk, and the shocking accident may have happened due to a malfunction with the electrical kit. The trunk of the pace vehicle is said to hold "a purpose-built auxiliary electrical kit to operate the numerous caution lights during the race."

"The pace car driver and passenger safely exited the vehicle," the statement said. "An assessment is underway."

It wasn’t just the stunned fans or perturbed officials who were left quite worried by the smoke and flames. Some of the racers seemed equally surprised by the fire and just how quickly it all started.

"I thought it was tire smoke until I saw flames," said racer Denny Hamlin, who ended up winning the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race. "And then I realized Brett was on a mission to find the emergency vehicle."

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