A stolen NASCAR car was found just one day after it was reported stolen. The very expensive race car was inside a trailer parked outside a hotel in an Atlanta, Georgia, suburb on Friday morning when a thief stole the truck and trailer, according to WQAD. It is likely that the thief was not even aware the car was inside the trailer.
The trailer theft happened around 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning, and a man found the car on the side of the road around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Philip Whitmer shared his discovery with the media, and he was shocked to find the car as he did. In fact, the police did not immediately believe him when he called in to report his find to the local authorities.
“I was like, that looks like a NASCAR [car]. I turned around, put my headlights on it, and there it was. Obviously they are someone that knows the area — that’s what was going through my head. It’s got to be someone from around here. You don’t stumble across that road.”
TMZ reported that there was video footage of the theft, but it did not help authorities identify the suspects.
“The car and the truck that hauls it were both stolen out of the Drury Inn parking lot outside Atlanta — and in the video you can see a Jeep SUV pull into the lot. One person dressed in black gets out of the Jeep, walks across the lot toward the transport trailer… and the Jeep pulls away. Next thing you see is the white transport trailer… hauled by a black pickup truck… tearing across the lot.”
The NASCAR car belongs to Team Xtreme Racing. Travis Kvapil was scheduled to race No. 44 in the Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 later today, but the theft of the car forced to team to pull out of the race. It was supposed to be Kvapil’s first race of the Sprint Cup season. Kvapil is now looking ahead to next Sunday’s race in Las Vegas to start his season.
Kvapil spoke about the return of the car, and he was extremely happy to have the car back with his team.
“The biggest thing is we found that race car. It is a small team and this (would have been) a big setback for us if that was missing. It was enough of a setback as it was, not being able to qualify and run the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. [I am] really thankful and happy for all the guys who worked so hard on this car. They put a lot of hours into it, and it would have been a real shame if it was gone.”
According to a previous Inquisitr report, Travis released a statement right after the theft was reported.
“Real setback for Team Xtreme, (team owner) John Cohen and all the guys that worked so hard to get us here coming off a decent Daytona race. This is a big setback for this little team.”
After the car was returned, Travis shared a photo of the vehicle on his Twitter account.
We got the @Teamxtreme44 back in our shop!! It looks ship shape! pic.twitter.com/Id867OaM1J
— Travis Kvapil (@TravisKvapil) February 28, 2015
Team Extreme Racing also shared several photos of the vehicle once it was in the team’s possession.
Old Faithful Home where it belong. Thank Statewide Towing in GA for the service. pic.twitter.com/sP1lOZ5mxB
— Team XTREME Racing (@Teamxtreme44) February 28, 2015
No. 44 is back home! Just made the journey from Atlanta back to Mooresville after it was stolen. @Teamxtreme44 pic.twitter.com/57bS9PPuy8
— Katie Rains (@KatieRainsWBTV) February 28, 2015
The car was not damaged at all during the 24 hours it was missing. John Cohen, the owner of the team, spoke with the Associated Press about the return of the car, according to the Durango Herald.
“There was no damage whatsoever. Nothing was taken off the car. Even the antennas that went to the radio were still in the seats. It was backwoods. There were no lights around. (The thieves) made sure no one could see them while they were getting rid of the car. The truck was on the side of the road. A citizen driving by noticed it and said, ‘Hey, that looks like the truck on TV.'”
No. 44 is now back in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Team XTreme Racing and Travis Kvapil had a busy day filled with media interviews. The story about the theft of the racecar has become big news, and it has put a spotlight on the small racing team.
The theft might help out the team in the long run. After a joke by one fan on Twitter about LoJack, the corporation sent out their own tweet about possibly sponsoring Team XTreme Racing.
Fans also shared their excitement about the return of the car on social media.
@TravisKvapil @Teamxtreme44 A dumb reason to gain a new fan. I needed something to bring me back to NASCAR. Go Travis! Go 44!
— John Fischer (@jjff152) February 28, 2015
@Teamxtreme44 I’m so glad you got your car back – that’s the most beautiful ride in your fleet! — Brock Beard (@LASTCARonBROCK) February 28, 2015
The car theft story ended on a good note. The car was found. It is not every day that you hear about a NASCAR car being stolen. In fact, this is the first time a theft like this has happened.
What do you think about this surprising NASCAR theft? Are you a new fan of Travis Kvapil and Team Xtreme Racing?
[Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]