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Chevrolet assessing pace car fire at Daytona

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 16, 2014 at 3:18 pm •  Published: February 16, 2014

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The hot lap at Daytona was set by the pace car.

The latest quirky occurrence at the home of the Daytona 500 came Saturday night when there was a fire inside the pace car for the exhibition Sprint Unlimited.

The smoke billowing from the car might have seemed out of place at any other track.

At Daytona?

It seemed more a matter of when the latest track mishap would happen, not if.

After all, the 2010 Daytona 500 was interrupted for more than two hours because of a pothole in the track. Juan Pablo Montoya slammed into a jet dryer in the 2012 race, igniting a raging inferno that caused another two-hour delay.

And last year, a last-lap crash in the Nationwide Series injured at least 30 spectators and ripped apart a chunk of fencing that protects the mammoth seating areas at stock car racing's most famous track.

The fire in the pace car started right before the third segment of the Sprint Unlimited race. Flames could be seen shooting from the rear of the car as it sat on the apron. A replacement pace car was brought out to finish the race.

"I just saw the whole back of the car was on fire. I thought it was a race car," 2012 Cup champion Brad Keselowski said. "Someone said it was the pace car. I just couldn't help but start laughing."

Pace car driver Brett Bodine, a former NASCAR driver, and a passenger safely exited the vehicle.

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