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Fuel fire causes damage to Smith's No. 78 hauler

October 24, 2011, Mark Aumann, NASCAR.com

Smoke is seen rising above Regan Smith's hauler as a result of a fuel fire after Sunday's race at Talladega. (Getty Images)

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- A fuel fire next to Regan Smith's hauler created chaos -- and a huge billowing cloud of black smoke -- in the garage area following Sunday's Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Thankfully, no one was injured and the blaze was extinguished without extensive damage.

Crewmen were busy disconnecting the fuel probes from gas cans and dumping excess fuel into a storage can near the front of the No. 78 hauler after the race, when a spark apparently ignited fuel inside one of the cans.

Smith

"They had the gas can on the ground there between the tractor and the hauler," Furniture Row Racing spokesman Dave Ferroni said. "They took off the fuel probe, something sparked it and it ignited. That's all we know at this time."

Everyone involved was able to scramble to safety, and several alert crewmen grabbed fire extinguishers and beat down the flames before the fire truck could get through the hundreds of crews, media and onlookers that are usually scurrying around in the garage once a race ends.

Ferroni said several crew members' personal bags were damaged or destroyed by the fire, but most of the major damage was contained to the hauler itself.

"There's a lot of damage to the back of the tractor, a lot of melted hoses," Ferroni said. "Somebody from Penske came over and they're going to offer us an extra tractor to take back to Denver, and hopefully we can get this one repaired."

The team lost a tractor-trailer and a motorcoach last fall in a multi-vehicle accident caused by ice conditions while returning to the team's headquarters in Colorado from Phoenix.

Smith's damaged race car, involved in a frightening Lap 181 incident in which Smith made head-on contact with the outside retaining wall but walked away, had been dropped off at a different spot in the garage area and was unaffected. Smith finished 30th.

* Video: Smith slams wall in multi-car crash