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Daytona 500 halted by fire

By Simon Evans

DAYTONA BEACH (Reuters) - The Daytona 500 was suspended with 40 laps remaining Monday after a bizarre accident when Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya's car hit a jet dryer truck causing it to burst into flames.

The race was under caution when Montoya, with no rival car near him, lost control of his vehicle and struck the back of the truck, which is used to dry out the track and blow away debris.

A giant fireball shot up from the vehicle as the fuel in the truck ignited, though it was well away from the spectator areas.

Montoya got out of his vehicle unhurt and while the truck driver was taken to hospital he was reported to be unhurt.

The race was stopped as officials sought to remove the truck and the fuel from the track. It was unclear how much damage had been done to the racing surface.

Dave Blaney held the lead when the race was stopped after 160 laps, and 101 laps need to be completed in order for a winner to be declared.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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