DOBSON — Surry County authorities are investigating the theft of a race car from a national circuit, which went missing after the truck hauling it reportedly broke down on Interstate 77.
Vehicle larcenies do happen locally from time to time, but not of the type involved in the case at hand, Sheriff Graham Atkinson said Friday.
“The fact that it is a race car is unusual,” Atkinson said of the stolen vehicle used in the ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) series.
After being reported stolen to the Surry County Sheriff’s Office on May 19, the race car was found Tuesday afternoon in Ringgold, Va., a community near Danville, by deputies with the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Department there.
Now local authorities are trying to wrap up the probe stemming from the incident on I-77 last week.
“We’re investigating the theft and working with the folks in Virginia (involved) in the recovery and trying to piece it together from there,” Atkinson said Friday.
The race car, valued at $50,000, is owned by David Leiner Racing in Lexington. It had last appeared in an ARCA race in Toledo, Ohio, before being stolen in Surry County.
The theft occurred in the southbound portion of Interstate 77 near the N.C. Welcome Center. In addition to the race car that was taken after the vehicle transporting it broke down, two tool boxes containing numerous tools and other racing equipment — valued at $20,000 each — were removed, according to Lt. David Hamlin. A CB radio was stolen as well.
Along with a race car being involved, another rarity surrounding last week’s crime is the fact it occurred on I-77, Atkinson said. Typically, vehicles that break down along with the busy roadway are not targeted by criminals, he said.
The ARCA series uses stock cars similar to those raced in the past on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit, including Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota and Dodge models formerly driven in that series.
In some cases, those racing in ARCA events are part of driver-development programs for NASCAR teams. The list of 2014 competitors includes Ken Schrader, a NASCAR veteran.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-719-1924 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.