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Championship Berlin Raceway car stolen and still missing

Ryan Holtzlander noticed the trailer it was in wasn't in the driveway Tuesday
Posted at 6:50 PM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 19:45:12-04

GRANT, Mich. — Ryan Holtzlander is most at home behind the wheel of a race car, and he had a pretty nice one too up until recently.

The acclaimed local driver comes from a racing family — his dad, mom, brothers, nephews, uncles and granddad have been burning rubber at Berlin Raceway since the '60s. This past season Holtzlander in his number two car, the same number as his granddad's, won the division championship at the speedway.

But Tuesday night, someone slipped onto the family’s property and stole a massive trailer right off their lawn, a bald spot in the grass now the only evidence it was ever there. Inside, something more valuable: Ryan’s race car, the same one that took home the top spot this past season.

“I think it’s somebody who thought, ‘Big trailer, money.’ And by now they’ve probably opened the door and went, ‘Uh, we got more than we bargained for,’” said Ryan. “It’s not just the car; you took all that time I spent away from my kids away from me. And the time we’ve spent together working on that car. That’s a lot of time I spent with my dad and my brothers and it’s just gone.”

We spoke to Ryan and his dad, Denny, on Friday. At that point, the trailer was still missing. Ryan called the FOX 17 newsroom shortly before showtime Friday afternoon and told us the trailer had been found but was empty — the race car and tools, still missing.

“You’ve got hours, days, weeks, months when you total it all up of time spent in there,” said Denny, recalling all the time he, Ryan and other friends and family members have spent tweaking the car to perfection.

“It’s not just the car; it’s the time,” added Ryan. “The car can be replaced, but not that car. We built that car.”

“There’s so many people involved, and you just took that away from all of us. And it just sucks.”

Ryan and Denny aren’t sure what the person who stole the car will do with it since it’s so identifiable, indicating to them that whoever did take it didn’t know what was inside the trailer.

Regardless, they have filed a police report and tell us officers are following up on about three tips per day.

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