It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Travis Kvapil is without a race car for the Sprint Cup Series race this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway as authorities are investigating the Friday morning theft of the Team Xtreme No. 44 car from a hotel parking lot in Morrow, Georgia.
Video obtained by police shows that the incident happened at 5:34 a.m. in the parking lot of the Drury Inn. Sgt. Larry Oglesby of the Morrow Police Department told ESPN.com that the incident was reported at 5:50 a.m. and that they are treating the car's disappearance as a stolen vehicle.
Oglesby asked for help in locating the vehicles -- a black 2004 Ford F-350 pulling a white trailer. Both had New Jersey tags. He estimated the overall value of all vehicles -- including the $250,000 race car, engine, parts, etc. -- was between $350,000 and $400,000.
"I just can't believe it. I'm sure that whoever stole it had no idea they were getting a Cup car and a spare engine," Kvapil said. "There's a lot of money inside that little trailer right now. For the team's sake and John Cohen's sake, hopefully the parts and pieces can be recovered or it will be a really huge setback for the team."
Cohen is hoping that because it's a race car -- which can't really be sold without someone knowing where it came from -- that authorities can recover the car.
originally posted by: the owlbear
It's probably painted like the General Lee by now and being used to run Uncle Jesse's moonshine across the state. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE---HAAAAAAAAAAAWWWW!!!
The No. 44 race car returned to its NASCAR shop in North Carolina on Saturday after it was recovered along a remote road in suburban Atlanta, apparently abandoned by the thieves who stole it from a hotel parking lot.
While the discovery didn't occur in nearly enough time for Team XTREME to compete in this weekend's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, it was a huge boost for the small-budget operation in its bid to make the next event at Las Vegas.
"There was no damage whatsoever," team owner John Cohen told The Associated Press. "Nothing was taken off the car. Even the antennas that went to the radio were still in the seats."
Police in Gwinnett County northeast of Atlanta received a suspicious vehicle call at approximately 2:30 a.m. Saturday, nearly 24 hours after the race car was stolen, said Jeffery Richter, the public information officer. A motorist spotted the No. 44 machine along a darkened road and quickly realized it must be the stolen race car.
Cohen was called to the scene, confirmed it was his $250,000 race car off the shoulder of the road, and called a tow truck to take it back to their shop in suburban Charlotte.
"It was backwoods," Cohen said. "There were no lights around. (The thieves) made sure no one could see them while they were getting rid of the car."
While the truck and trailer that were hauling the race car weren't found at the scene, the truck was spotted a few hours later in Stockbridge, Georgia, not far from the hotel where the theft took place, said Morrow police Detective Sgt. Larry Oglesby, who led the investigation in the south Atlanta suburb.
"The truck was on the side of the road," Oglesby said. "A citizen driving by noticed it and said, 'Hey, that looks like the truck on TV.'"
He said the handle on the driver side door was busted, as well as the ignition switch. While no arrests had been made, Oglesby said his department had a "person of interest" and was continuing to pursue leads to determine just how many people were involved. He also identified a vehicle used by the thieves, which was spotted on a surveillance video.
There was still no sign of the trailer and its other contents, which included a spare engine valued at $100,000 and racing equipment valued at $17,500.
"We've got two out of three," Oglesby said. "Now we're looking for the trailer."
A man who was driving around in the middle of the night to clear his head has found the $250,000 NASCAR race car that was stolen from a hotel parking lot.
Philip Whitmer, 30, from Monroe, Georgia, was driving along around 2.30am Saturday morning in Atlanta suburb Loganville when he saw driver Travis Kvapil's bright orange Team XTREME car.
The self-employed NASCAR fan had heard about the Friday morning theft outside the team's hotel in Morrow, Georgia, but was 'shocked' when he stumbled upon the now-famous racer while thinking about his 'rocky' relationship.
'It's a very remote road so it's got to be somebody from around here who knows this area to stumble across that road,' he said.
The front of the car near the air dam was damaged, and the car was parked next to a small wooden ramp, presumably used to remove it from the trailer it was stolen in.
Inside of the car appeared fine, according Mr Whitmer.
There is a neighborhood abut 200 yards from where the vehicle was parked, but no suspicious activity was reported in that area prior to Mr Whitmer's call, a spokesman for the Gwennitt County Police told Daily Mail Online.
Mr Whitmer was dismissed from the scene by police while they contacted the small-budget Team XTREME, who arrived at the site around 4:30am.
Mr Whitmer has not yet met the NASCAR team, though police said they would relay his information to the owners.
NASCAR fans and drivers offered rewards for finding the vehicle on Friday, including pit pass tickets to races and a lifetime of free food from Golden Corral offered by driver Michael Waltrip.
Mr Whitmer said he had been contacted on social media by many NASCAR fans and drivers, and that there wasn't anything he'd particularly like but 'it might be nice to have a nice little payday'.
When asked about possibly getting an endless amount of free buffets, he said, 'That'd be fine with me.'