Brett Bodine piloted a blue Chevy SS pace car last night at the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Unlimited race. But something caused him to unexpectedly floor the accelerator and speed off to the infield. As he did so, the bouts of smoke emanating from the car’s passenger cabin and, subsequently, the flames coming out of the performance sedan’s trunk, made it obvious that the car was on fire.
Both Bodine and his passenger parked the SS and made it out safely, as fire crews pulled up lickety-split to extinguish the flames. Fortunately, everyone was fine.
As it turns out, the battery pack for the pace car’s safety lighting system caused the fire, as Slugger Labbe, crew chief for the #27 “Chevy SS” driven by Paul Menard, saw it himself and reported via Twitter:
I am happy to report that the @TeamChevy pacecar had a battery pack in the trunk for the external safety lights and that is what caught fire
— Slugger Labbe (@SluggerLabbe) February 16, 2014
NASCAR replaced the burnt SS pace car with a backup unit of an identical vehicle, and pole-setter Denny Hamlin went on to win the event in a Toyota-badged stock car.