When Travis Kvapil got the call today, he figured someone on his race team was playing a joke. "They said there was trouble with the car," Kvapil said. "I thought we could figure it out when we got in the garage area. They're like, 'No, the car is gone.'" The No. 44 NASCAR Sprint Cup car owned by small-budget Team XTREME was stolen from a hotel parking lot near Atlanta Motor Speedway, police said, forcing Kvapil to withdraw from this weekend's race before he even got a chance to qualify.
The $250,000 race car was still missing late in the afternoon, and police were hoping the public could assist in the search. "It's insane," said team owner John Cohen, who didn't have a backup car to run in Atlanta. For a few hours, the team held out hope of the car being found in time for qualifying today, but it was forced to withdraw when it missed NASCAR's mandatory inspection. The Sprint Cup race is Sunday. (Read more weird crimes stories.)