If the calendar didn’t say that Friday was Feb. 27th, you might have sworn it was Friday the 13th around Atlanta Motor Speedway.
It was that strange of a day.
It started with a stolen race car, morphed to a driver’s motorcoach – parked, at that – involved in a fender bender, and ended up with 13 drivers failing to take qualifying runs due to a slow inspection process.
Here’s a quick recap, with links to the full stories immediately afterward:
* Travis Kvapil was slated to make his first run for Team Xtreme in this weekend’s race at AMS. But thieves stole the race car and the pickup truck and trailer that were hauling it from a suburban Atlanta hotel parking lot. Police are still looking for the truck, hauler and most importantly, the race car – and the thieves, too.
UPDATED: NASCAR Sprint Cup car stolen; Team withdraws from Atlanta race
* Kvapil was supposed to also race in Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race, but team owner John Corr pulled out of the race Thursday night.
Stolen car means Travis Kvapil is out of two Atlanta races in two days without turning a lap
* Denny Hamlin was asleep in his motorcoach in the AMS infield when around 7 a.m. ET, an unattended SUV rolled backwards through a fence, striking and causing “cosmetic damage” to Hamlin’s home on wheels, according to a spokesman.
Denny Hamlin’s motorhome sustains cosmetic damage in bizarre incident
* One of the most bizarre qualifying sessions in memory ended with 13 drivers unable to take qualifying laps due to an overly slow inspection process. Among those that failed to make a qualifying attempt were former champions Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart.
Jeff Gordon blasts NASCAR after 13 drivers aren’t permitted to make qualifying laps at Atlanta
Thankfully, there were a number of normal stories to note, as well:
* Joey Logano continued his momentum from Sunday’s win in the Daytona 500, earning the pole for this Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at AMS.
Joey Logano’s Daytona momentum continues, earns pole at Atlanta
* Atlanta Motor Speedway presented Jeff Gordon – well, make that Jeff Gordon’s four-year-old son Leo – with a red No. 24 Bandoleros car with “Leo Gordon” above the doorframe.
Atlanta Motor Speedway’s farewell present to Jeff Gordon is a new beginning for his family
* After nearly a week of hospitalization, Kyle Busch was finally released and returned home following last Saturday’s Xfinity Series crash in Daytona.
Kyle Busch released from hospital; back home for first time since NASCAR Xfinity crash