RC racer upset after race car was stolen hours before the race

Hundreds of remote-control car racers are in the valley this weekend for a big event, but one driver won't be racing his custom car like he'd planned. Thieves took off with his custom car and thousands of dollars' worth of racing gear.

More than a thousand drivers from all over the country are in the valley for the Dirt Nitro Challenge.

"This is remote controlled, gas off- road racing," said Joey Christensen, a Dirt Nitro Challenge Promoter. "It's a professional circuit. They get paid and a bunch of money to win. It's kind of like NASCAR, they have teams and sponsors."

These aren't your Radio-Shack, big box store type toy cars. They're custom made.

"These are gas powered," says Christiansen. "They go 60 miles an hour. They're kind of like NASCAR. They've got race rig and tons of equipment up to the tens of thousands of dollars range."

So when RC Driver Tyler Vik realized someone smashed his rental car window Friday night and made off with his car and tools, it was like having a real race car stolen.

"[I] was just really bummed," said Tyler Vik. "Not just the monetary value of it, also stuff that takes time to build and put together."

Vik was staying at this Goodyear hotel when his RC car was stolen. He says an RC car similar to this one and about $5,000 worth of tools and parts are now gone. He says the cars take a lot of time and skill to build. He's been racing for 13 years now.

"A lot of the tools I had since I started racing 10 years ago, so I'll never see it again," says Vik. "It's more of the sweat equity and building than the monetary value of the stuff that was taken."

Vik was still able to race in the event using the other car he brought with him, which was in his hotel room during the burglary. He doesn't think he was a random victim though.

"I think it might be a racer, someone who knew what they were getting," Vik says.

Organizers say RC racing is becoming more and more popular. This annual event is the largest off-road gas RC race in the world.
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