Culture

NASCAR Driver's Car Stolen From Hotel Parking Lot

Travis Kvapil, a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, woke up this morning to a nasty surprise: his race car had been stolen from the hotel parking lot.

Kvapil drives for Team XTREME Racing, a relative newcomer to the circuit. Ultimately, it’s the team’s responsibility to secure the car, but one wonders how a thief could just waltz in and steal a trailer in a hotel parking lot.

The driver sent a series of tweets this morning reflecting his bemusement:

 

 

The team’s owner, John Cohen, says they will have to withdraw from the race.

ESPN:

Cohen said he used to own a truck company and was worried about ice in Atlanta on Wednesday night, so he sent the hauler to the track early without the race car. The team didn’t have the car ready after the team had wrecked a car in Daytona 500 qualifying Feb. 15 and had to spend time a week ago getting a new one prepared for the Daytona 500.

The car for Atlanta went down Thursday night in an enclosed hauler towed by a dually.

“With everything that happened at Daytona, it set us a week back,” Cohen told ESPN.com in a phone interview Friday morning. “I’ve got a decent staff, [but] not a big staff. … It’s getting frustrating. I’ve got four cars at the shop now.”

Oglesby said there is video surveillance of the alleged robbery.

“We’re going to say [it is a] stolen vehicle at this point in time,” Oglesby said. “That’s as much as we know. We have no idea where it is. … (The video) shows one male walking up to the vehicle between 5:30 and 5:32 [a.m.], you see him get out of the vehicle and then you see him walk up to that vehicle about 5:34 and the vehicle is driving out of the location.”

Kvapil, who said many of the parts and pieces needed for next week at Las Vegas were on the Atlanta car, got a call at 8 a.m. Friday. At first, Kvapil said he was told about trouble with the car and he thought maybe there was a problem in tech.

“Come to find out, we had big problems with the car,” Kvapil said. “It’s really a crazy story. I feel bad for the guys, John Cohen and the team … they worked so hard the last couple of days and a lot of hours to get us here, and to have it kind of just pulled out right from under us …”

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.

Kvapil has one top 10 finish to his credit and is a newcomer to Team EXTREME. He previously drove for BK Racing.