NASCAR got underway yesterday with the 2014 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Raceway, and it wasn’t short on excitement. Tony Stewart was involved in a massive nine-car pileup that also saw Ricky Stenhouse Jr. collide with his girlfriend, Danica Patrick. Thankfully there were no human injuries, but Chevy might be feeling battered. 

The Chevrolet SS pace car suddenly caught fire on lap 55, while leading the pack under a yellow flag. The fire originated in the trunk and sent smoke billowing out of the cabin. GM has declined to comment on the situation, but sources say a battery in the trunk was the likely culprit for the flames.

“I just saw the whole back of the car on fire. I thought it was a race car, and then someone said it was the pace car and I just started laughing,” remarked Brad Keselowski who was following behind the pace car.

This comes as the latest line of bad circumstances surrounding the new SS, which is assembled at GM’s Elisabeth plant in Australia, set to close in 2017.

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[via SB Nation]