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DATE News (chronologically)
05/01/11
nascar
Fire at former Yunick garage intentionally set; reward offered  The inferno that swept through the former garage of famed NASCAR mechanic Smokey Yunick was intentionally set, the State Fire Marshal's office said Friday, and a reward is being offered for any information leading to an arrest.

The blaze erupted about 7 p.m. Monday, tearing through the last remnants of the historic garage at 957 N. Beach St. where the late Yunick worked his mechanic magic for NASCAR greats Fireball Roberts and Marvin Panch.

Nina Ashley, a spokeswoman for the State Fire Marshal's office in Tallahassee, said the fire was "incendiary," which means it was set intentionally. It has not been classified an arson, however, because the intent is not clear.

A sign was posted Friday afternoon outside the property -- which Yunick once called the "Best Damn Garage in Town" -- offering a $5,000 reward for information.

Yunick died in 2001 at age 77. The vacant garage was sold in 2004, and a condo project was proposed, but never built, at the site.

The age of the building and its former use as a garage made fighting the fire dangerous and difficult, and firefighters fought the flames from outside only.

Some of the inventions born in Yunick's garage included variable-ratio power steering and the extended tip spark plug. He installed solar panels on the building's roof in 1974. Daytona Beach News Journal

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