After several wrecks during the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway, the pace car appeared to have had enough. Before the final segment of the race the car filled with smoke and flames appeared at the back right side of the Chevrolet SS. Driver Brett Bodine pulled the car down to the apron of the track and radioed the tower.
“Tower, we’re on fire,” Bodine radioed.
NASCAR referred all questions about the incident to Chevrolet. In a statement Sunday morning, Chevrolet said the fire was in the trunk area, which contained “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’s been a tough week for GM.
Earlier this week, the car manufacturer had to recall 778,562 of its 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5 compacts in North America after faulty ignition switches were linked to six deaths.
And a sinkhole swallowed eight cars at the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky.
Denny Hamlin won the race after taking the lead just before the white flag flew and finished uncontested.
“I thought it was tire smoke until I saw flames,” Hamlin said. “And then I realized Brett was on a mission to find the emergency vehicle.”