OFFSTAGE: Dierks Bentley’s Car Burns, Charles Kelley Comes to Rescue

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

You may have heard that Dierks Bentley’s car caught on fire Tuesday night (Jan. 18). And if you did, you might have been thinking, as I was, “WTH?” So I asked Bentley for the full story beyond just his brief tweet about the narrowly-averted disaster.

“If I had not bumped into Charles (Kelley) last night, my new car might not have made it,” he told me. The car, a gift from Bentley’s wife Cassidy, is a black hardtop 1967 Chevy Camaro. (A particularly cool car because it is from the Camaro’s debut year.) Bentley said it’s not like him to have a nice car, but he’d been talking to his bus driver about buying it for a few years. So Cassidy finally just bought it and surprised Bentley with it for their anniversary a few weeks ago. And he’d driven it only a handful of times. “It was the night of the Nashville Grammy party, so I thought it would be a good night to take it out for a spin. Then after that party, I drove it to Whiskey Kitchen, and I didn’t want to valet park it, but I did,” he said. Then he went inside and bumped into Kelley, who said he wanted to see the new car. “It was not even a minute after I’d walked in, and Charles and I go back outside and there are flames coming out from under the engine — and wrapping around the sides,” he explained. “The valet guy was still in it, trying to pop the hood. My brain was not even processing it. I was in shock. But Charles saw a guy from the bar who had access to a fire extinguisher and said, ’Get over here.'” The cause of the fire apparently had something to do with the power steering fluid being too close to the exhaust system. Bentley credits Kelley’s gut reaction to put the fire out for saving his new old car. “Charles definitely came to the rescue last night,” he told me on his way to write a song today. Maybe this whole find-out-who-your-friends-are idea can somehow become new again.