You may remember Team Xtreme Motorsports from earlier this year, when their race car was stolen before the race at Atlanta. The team eventually recovered the car, but ever since then they’ve been on a rollercoaster ride. It’s a weird story–undermanned, underfunded, and undersupplied, the team has gone through woes ever since it was founded in 2012. Owner John Cohen began fielding cars in the November of that year, but the team, faced with a lack of funding and numerous engine failures, only finished a full race once before the 2015 season. In the 2015 Daytona 500, driver Reed Sorenson crashed into Kevin Harvick during practice, destroying the team’s only car. Team Xtreme worked through the night, building their backup car almost completely from scratch. Sorenson raced his way into the 500 and managed to land a 32nd place finish. Bolstered by this success, the team packed up and moved on to Atlanta, where the unthinkable happened–their car was stolen.
On Friday, February 27th, carjackers broke into the Team Xtreme truck sitting outside a Georgia hotel and made off with their truck, trailer, and race car. Now normally, the car would be inside a brightly colored hauler, but for this race the team had sent their hauler to the track first while they drove a backup car down from North Carolina in a plain white trailer. As the team scrambled to find the car, police officers surmised that the thieves didn’t know what they were stealing until after they took the truck–they mus have though they were jacking an ordinary trailer! The team’s car was eventually found, but not before Team Xtreme was forced to withdraw from the Atlanta race. As Sprint Cup cars are, of course, somewhat difficult to fence or sell, the car thieves dumped the race car almost undamaged on the side of a Georgia highway. Police found the $250,000 car early Saturday morning, and the team was able to pack it up and take it back to the shop.
The incident generated a wave of positive publicity and goodwill for the team, but it didn’t last. The team has been in free-fall since the incident. Team Xtreme’s new driver, Travis Kvapil, has failed to qualify for the past three races. Cohen, the team’s owner and manager, has been of no help in solving the situation. Cohen was issued a bench warrant for missing a New Jersey court date, and was sued by another team, Swan Racing, for failing to pay the team for it’s car and equipment back in 2014. Cohen has denied the allegations, and has continued to attempt to field his team, at least until Martinsville. The team pulled out of the race, ostensibly worried that rain would wash out qualifying and leave them on the outside looking in. However, allegations surfaced that Team Xtreme left the race because of a lack of money–after weeks of failed qualifying attempts, Cohen and co. have run out of money to pay the mechanics and workers employed by the team. Team Xtreme is in a tailspin. It’s out of luck, out of money, and unfortunately for Kvapil and all the team members, it looks like Team Xtreme is out of time.