Travis Kvapil has been forced to withdraw from this weekend's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway after the Team XTREME Racing #44 entry was stolen on Thursday night.

The team's truck and trailer had been parked overnight at a Drury Inn in Morrow, Georgia, approximately 16 miles north of the speedway having travelled from the organisation's workshop in Huntersville, North Carolina. The team's primary transport hauler had already arrived at the Atlanta track after leaving early to avoid wintry weather forecast to hit the region on Wednesday evening.

The stolen car was the only vehicle available to the team, which did not have a backup on standby for this weekend's race. Team owner John Cohen told USA Today that he didn't have an estimate of the car's value, but the police report fixed the cost at $250,000, while an additional backup engine valued at $100,000 and further equipment worth $17,500 were also in the trailer.

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The #44 Chevrolet is the entry that Reed Sorenson raced in last weekend at the Daytona 500. Sorenson had crashed in qualifying and the team mounted a frantic effort to get a replacement car built up in time to allow Sorenson to compete in the Great American Race a week later, where he finished in 32nd position.

Sunday would have been Kvapil's first Cup star of the season, although he raced in the Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona and finished in 15th place.

Police are reported to be studying a surveillance video of the hotel parking lot showing the fully-enclosed unmarked white Sunbeam trailer being stolen by culprits driving a silver jeep at 5.25am. "One guy got out and they pulled off together," said Cohen.

Local police aid that in many such thefts, thieves stole trailers without knowing what was inside in the hope of picking up something with valuable. With little easy resale value in a Sprint Cup car or its customised components, the authorities are hopeful that once the thieves realise the contents of this trailer they will simply abandon it elsewhere and the car can yet be recovered.

"I bet when whoever has it, opens the trailer and is going to be like 'oh snap'," Kvapil posted on Twitter on Friday. "Anyone near Atlanta find my stolen Cup car let me know! Unreal."