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Chevy SS pace car catches fire with 20 laps to go in in the 2014 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona as shown in screen shot and in the video on Feb. 18.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Maybe it was the full moon. Whatever the reason, one of the most bizarre scenes in the last 20 years took place on the track at Daytona Internationl Speedway during the final stage of the Spint Unlimited: The pace car caught fire.
Yes, the pace car.
The disaster on the track coms in at No. 65 in the HeadlineSurfer.com countdown of the top 100 local stories of 2014 in Central Florida.
With the field bunched up for the final 20 lap segment -- smoke began billowing from one og the cars. Except it was not a race car, but rather the pace car!
And just as pace car driver Brett Bodine pulled off the track, the trunk of the Chevrolet SS was on fire.
As luck would have it, safety crews were quick on the scene to extinguish the fire.
As it turned out, a battery pack used to power external lights ignited the fire.
Embarrassed Chevrolet executives quickly fired off a statement: During the closing laps of the NASCAR Sprint Unlimited race, the pace car experienced a fire in the trunk area, which contains 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. An assessment is underway. -- Team Chevy
A back-up pace car was quickly put into action to complete the race.
The Headline Surfer® Countdown of the Top 100 Stories of 2014, is sponsored by Edgewater Towing & Myron's Auto Service of Edgewater, FL.
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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.