A frightening fire and subsequent explosion marred the final NASCAR race of the season Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The incident occurred with 37 laps to go when the car of Paul Menard sustained damage and began dragging parts on the track. The sparks ignited rubber which had collected around the rear axle and eventually a fire ensued in the right-rear wheel well.
Despite the flames, Menard limped his Chevrolet back to pits, and as he pulled into his stall, the tire exploded due to the heat. The explosion was such that the entire car shook, as crewmen and officials scrambled to safety. Everyone, including Menard, escaped injury, however.
"That was pretty wild," Menard told ESPN. "I don't know what happened on that restart. Everybody kinda checked up and we got some right-rear damage and had a flat tire. A bunch of rubber got wrapped up underneath around the axle, and we tried a couple of times to get the rubber off, but we couldn't get it all.
"I guess it just caught fire. ... The damn wheel blew off."