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Stolen NASCAR race car recovered by police in Georgia

Police recover NASCAR race car that was stolen in Georgia on Friday, but not in time for Sunday's race

The great NASCAR car search is over.

Police in Georgia found the race car that was stolen Friday from a hotel parking lot near Atlanta Motor Speedway, the site of this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series races.

The car was discovered early Saturday about 20 miles from where it was stolen, Morrow police Detective Sgt. Larry Oglesby told the Associated Press. The car, which is valued at $250,000, appeared to be undamaged. The No. 44 Chevrolet was discovered in a wooded area near Loganville, Ga.

Team Xtreme also confirmed the car had been recovered, sharing a photo on Twitter of team owner John Cohen standing next to it with the message: "So Happy to have 'old faithful' back. Favorite race car."

The truck that was hauling the trailer which contained the race car was found later at a different location Saturday. The trailer has not been recovered.

Unfortunately, the recovery of the car didn't come in time for the team to compete in Sunday's race. It was forced to withdraw after the car was stolen just hours before Travis Kvapil was scheduled to take part in Sprint Cup Series qualifying Friday.

Although the car in back in its possession, Team Xtreme spokeswoman Amanda Ebersole said a spare race engine worth $100,000 and racing equipment valued at $17,500 were among the items in the trailer.

Surveillance camera at the hotel showed the truck and trailer being driven out of the parking lot shortly before 5:30 a.m. EST on Friday. The team was scheduled to leave for the track at 5:45 a.m.

“I've been doing this since 1979,” said Peter Sospenzo, Team Xtreme crew chief. “I've probably been to 1,200 hotels and 1,200 racetracks. Never once has this happened. It's crazy. But there's a first for everything, I guess."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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