By David G. Firestone
Had some great racing in NASCAR this week, but the best story didn’t come from Atlanta Motor Speedway, but rather who DIDN’T make to Atlanta, specifically Team Xtreme Racing. Specifically, they had their car stolen…their RACE CAR stolen. How did that happen?
Bad weather hit Charlotte last week, and the main hauler with pit crew and other racing equipment was sent earlier to avoid it. The car however wasn’t ready, and was transported via pickup with a trailer on the back. The trailer arrived at a hotel in Morrow Georgia, roughly 16 or so miles from Atlanta Motor Speedway. The driver met up with the team, and bunked down. During the night, thieves stole the truck, trailer and all from the hotel parking lot. The car was later found in Snellville, Georgia, roughly 36 miles, as was the pickup truck, though the trailer, which had $125,000 worth of racing equipment is, as of this writing, still missing.
It’s easy to understand why it would get stolen. Neither the truck or trailer had any team or sponsor logos printed on it, and the thieves probably thought it was construction equipment, maybe lawn equipment, and thought they could steal and fence the goods. When they realized what they stole, they dumped it on the side of the road. I even understand why the team transported the hauler and car separate from each other. What I don’t get is why Team Xtreme didn’t at least have a backup car. At the very least, you might have have to pull out if you wreck your car in practice, but at least you have SOMETHING. Team Xtreme has said they will have a backup car for Las Vegas this week…glad it took the primary car getting stolen to make that happen.
Some other news and notes from this week…
For the second time in as many races, a driver has hit an unprotected concrete wall during a race. Jeff Gordon was the unlucky driver this time. NASCAR has stated repeatedly that adding SAFR barriers is a top priority, but one has to wonder why this hasn’t been completed as of yet, especially with the safety culture being what it is.
NASCAR has implemented a new rule in the wake of the Jeff Gordon/Brad Keselowski brawl that took place at Texas last year. This new rule is specifically designed to reduce the threat of a brawl by reducing the number of crew members that can come on pit road around a car after a race.
Miller and Penske announced this week that Brad Keselowski will run a throwback scheme at some point this season. The choices are Rusty Wallace’s MGD scheme or Bobby Allison’s Miller High Life scheme. Fans can vote on which scheme they would like to see raced. I would love the gold Miller High Life scheme myself…
Landon Cassill finished both Daytona and Atlanta in last place, becoming the first driver since Glenn Dunaway in 1949 to sweep the first two races of the season in last place. Let’s see if he can pull off the hat trick at Las Vegas next week.
Kurt Busch has agreed to the terms and conditions dictated by NASCAR that he must complete to get reinstated. Busch is currently suspended from NASCAR due to the ruling by a Delaware court that he committed an act of domestic abuse. There is, as of yet, no timetable for his return, or if he will even return in 2015.
Kyle Busch was released from the hospital this week, after his crash at Daytona left him with a badly broken leg. David Ragan moved from Front Row Motorsports to fill in for Busch in his absence. The driver of the #34 CSX Ford for Las Vegas has yet to be determined.
Finally, Nickelodeon has announced that the Kansas race on May 9 will be known as the SpongeBob SquarePants 400.