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Kvapil, Team Succumb To Grand Theft Auto

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 27 2015

The No. 44 Sprint Cup Chevrolet that had been stolen has been recovered.

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Police have found the Sprint Cup car that was stolen from a hotel parking lot in Georgia.

The car was found in Loganville, Ga., north of Atlanta on Saturday.

Team Xtreme Racing had withdrawn from Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway because somebody had stolen the No. 44 Chevrolet.

The team’s hauler was sent ahead of the inclement winter weather that hit the Charlotte, N.C., area on Wednesday night and parked at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga.

The stolen rig.

With minor work remaining on the car, it was brought separate from the hauler – in an enclosed 26-foot trailer pulled by a black Ford extended cab pickup – which arrived at the team hotel in Morrow, Ga., on Thursday at 11 p.m.

Hotel surveillance video shows the theft occurred at 5:32 a.m. Friday. According to a police report a silver or grey Jeep Cherokee was spotted leaving the hotel at the time of the theft.

Native Georgian Reed Sorenson finished 32nd and on the lead lap in the No. 44 Golden Corral Chevy during last Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. That was the first time the team owned by John Cohen had competed in the “Great American Race.”

Travis Kvapil, a former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, was scheduled to drive the No. 44 Chevy sponsored by Phoenix Warehouse on AMS’ 1.54-mile quadoval. Phoenix Warehouse of New Jersey and California, a full-service logistics warehouse and distribution company founded in 1976, has returned to Team Xtreme in a multi-race deal running throughout the 2015 season.

“While this is obviously a setback for this weekend, our plans remain to compete in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season,” Cohen said in a statement. “We are working closely with the Morrow Police in hopes that our truck, trailer and race car are safely returned.”

Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon – who finished one spot behind Sorenson after crashing-out of the Daytona 500 – said he was well-aware of the No. 44 team’s dilemma.

“That’s tough,” Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS, said during a press conference after opening practice Friday morning. “We had kind of a tough start to the day and had an issue with an oil heater and had to switch-out some oil lines and the oil tank. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) was not real thrilled with how our morning started.

“I wanted to tell him that it could be a lot worse _ your car could have been stolen last night. But I hate that for Travis and those guys. That’s a really, really bad way to get your weekend started. I hope they get to the bottom of it.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 27 2015
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