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Police Find Stolen NASCAR Race Car In Wooded Area Outside Atlanta

(Photo : Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox) Travis Kvapil, driver of the #44 Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. The car was stolen outside of an Atlanta area hotel on Feb. 27, 2015, and retrieved on Feb. 28, 2015.

According to the Associated Press, the stolen NASCAR race car that went missing from an Atlanta area hotel near the Atlanta Motor Speedway has been found.

Team XTREME was noted as saying that the car was located early Saturday morning northwest of Atlanta in a wooded area near Loganville, Ga. That's roughly 20 miles from where it was last seen. The team tweeted a photograph of team owner John Cohen standing in front of the No. 44 Chevrolet along with the words "So Happy to have 'old faithful' back. Favorite race car."

The car, trailer, and the pickup truck that was hauling it were all stolen a few hours before Travis Kvapil was supposed to run in qualifying. The team's spokeswoman said that police did not recover the rest of the trailer's contents. Those items included a spare engine with an estimated value of $100,000 and various racing equipment totaling $17,500.

Police Detective Sgt. Larry Oglesby stated that nearby surveillance video showed the truck and trailer being driven from the parking lot shortly after 5:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 27. The team had stopped for the night late Thursday. They were scheduled to depart for the track at 5:45 a.m. on Friday. A crewman associated with the team had been outside smoking a cigarette moments before the brazen theft occurred.

There has been no reported damage to the $250,000 vehicle so far. Crew chief Peter Sospenzo said, "I've been doing this since 1979. I've probably been to 1,200 hotels and 1,200 race tracks. Never once has this happened. It's crazy. But there's a first for everything, I guess."

Travis Kvapil went on to say, "It's really bizarre. You can handle maybe getting a flat tire, or getting caught up in a wreck, or a blown engine, something that actually happens on the race track. Or you don't qualify, because you don't have enough speed. But to not even get a chance ... that's pretty disheartening." 

Team XTREME was reportedly forced to withdraw from the NASCAR event scheduled for this Sunday. There is no further news in connection to the theft at this time. 

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