Feb. 16 (UPI) -- NASCAR fans might be used to seeing flames every once in while during particularly heated races, but in an unprecedented moment Saturday night, the pace car caught fire at the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race.
Pace car driver Brett Bodine pulled the blue Chevrolet SS pace car off to the side at Daytona International Speedway as smoke started billowing from the back of the vehicle.
"Tower, we're on fire," he radioed.
As soon as Bodine got out of the car, flames erupted from the trunk.
"The pace car driver and passenger safely exited the vehicle," the statement said. "An assessment is underway."Chevrolet released a statement Sunday morning saying the fire came from the trunk, which contains "a purpose-built auxiliary electrical kit to operate the numerous caution lights during the race."
Even the racers were taken aback by the flames.
"I thought it was tire smoke until I saw flames," said Denny Hamlin, who ended up winning the race. "And then I realized Brett was on a mission to find the emergency vehicle."
[USA Today] [Sporting News]