Watching NASCAR you expect to see smoke, you expect to see flames, you expect to see all manner of conflagrations occur on track. But one car is expected to be old reliable, to never have a problem, or at the very least not to completely nuke itself – the pace car. Until that, too, goes up in flames.

The Chevrolet SS pace car, driven by Brett Bodine, was leading the pack at the Sprint Unlimited, just before the start of the final segment of the exhibition race, when the cockpit filled with smoke, and flames started licking out the back.

Here's a better video over at Deadspin, and a photo from Fox Sports 1 below.

Of the 18 drivers that originally entered the race, only eight are finishing due to the frequent accidents. The season's off to a great start.

UPDATE: The fire was likely caused by the extra battery packs mounted in the trunk and used for the extra caution lights according to Nic, a commenter who is also a safety worker at Daytona:

It was due to the strobe lights batteries in the trunk... just going off what I saw inside the trunk while it was on fire. We had to disconnect the regular battery, located in the trunk as well on these cars but on the drivers side, it had no burn marks.

He also provided this great shot from the tow truck:

Chevy SS Pace Car Goes Up In Flames At Sprint Unlimited NASCAR Race