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Pace car catches fire as Denny Hamlin starts final Sprint Unlimited segment in lead

Feb 15, 2014, 10:00 PM EST

Sprint Unlimited

It’ll be a 20-lap shootout, starting with a mandatory pit stop, to see who wins tonight’s Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.

Denny Hamlin won the second segment, a 25-lap excursion that saw nearly half the field eliminated in a nine-car wreck that was triggered when Matt Kenseth came down on Joey Logano, leading to mayhem.

Hamlin was first off pit road to restart the final segment in the lead. Only one of the nine remaining drivers – which started with an 18-driver field – took four tires for the last segment, that being Ryan Newman, starting his tenure with Richard Childress Racing.

All other drivers took two tires and added fuel.

Hamlin led 24 of the first 55 laps across the first two segments.

And as if to add insult to injury, the pace car caught fire on the pace laps to prepare to start the final segment. The pace car was quickly brought to a halt and track fire and safety personnel converged upon it to put out the small blaze — certainly nothing like the inferno that took place in the 2012 Daytona 500 when Juan Pablo Montoya slammed into the rear of a track jet dryer.

Blame the full moon – that’s as logical an explanation as anything of such a strange night.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

  1. mrsfoxxe - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    Great start for race season!!!

    • testover6370 - Feb 16, 2014 at 1:54 AM

      Well you could say the race season started with the Dubai 24, followed by the Daytona 24, so this isn’t really the start anyway.

  2. barrylibby - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    The WWF of motor sports is off to a great start !!

  3. pitpenguinsrulez - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    Screw Ambrose! Seriously he sucks at plate racing. The race was good I say and better vs a year ago. Denny won’t be winning the 500 as history isn’t on his side with winning the Shootout & 500 during Speedweeks. I also did predict that Danica that wouldn’t finish tonight and was correct.

    • rdroberts9 - Feb 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

      Screw Jr…. He’s the one that came up on Ambrose!!!! He even admitted it.. You Jr. fans are all alike!!!!

  4. bcweir - Feb 16, 2014 at 12:44 AM

    Hey look everybody! That legendary GM quality at work! Way to promote your $44,000 car, GM! With a cookout!

    • mustang6984 - Feb 16, 2014 at 3:01 AM

      Wonder if anyone had any hot dogs or marshmallows handy? LOL!!!

      • indycar02 - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        make mine vegan (dont want ya cloggin up your arteries).

    • edfishwalsh - Feb 16, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      Shove them defective strobe lights and batteries up Uranus and you would start of fire. Rather than use that brain cell to figure out that the cars in the showroom do not have those lights you bust on the brand. typical low information traitor. Go drive your defective Toyota into a wall because your brakes are defective.

  5. mustang6984 - Feb 16, 2014 at 3:00 AM

    I have said for years that the electrical systems on Chevy cars suck! (actually pretty much the entire GMC line) And…here is the proof. It’s why our sheriff’s department dumped ALL their Chevy patrol vehicles within one month one year. And why the PD here is having their Crown Vics completely re-built rather than buy any Chevy junk to replace the Crown Vics.

    LOL!!! Replace that thing with a Ford Mustang…it’s look better, go faster and last longer than that Chevy junk!

    • edfishwalsh - Feb 16, 2014 at 8:41 AM

      that electrical system was placed into the car by the track to make it blink and such, They are called after market strobe lights. a ford mustang would have burned to the ground with all of the junk plastic parts on it.

  6. barrylibby - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:00 AM

    Anyone notice that the drivers of the Pace Car exited car wearing no helmets or proper fire suits !

  7. thetooloftools - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    Burn Baby Burn !

  8. edfishwalsh - Feb 16, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    The cause was after market strobe lights that shorted. stop all of the nonsense you know that the car off the showroom does not come with those lights. Any car would have suffered the same fate due to the faulty AFTER MARKET STROBE LIGHTS.

  9. csilojohnson - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    lol rednecks. they are both junk.

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