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NewsTrucking

‘NASCAR roadies:’ Truck drivers keep the sport moving

Millions of NASCAR fans turn on their televisions or file into racetrack stands each year to take in all the action of a good race. What those fans don’t see is the preparation that goes into making a race successful.

The race cars, and all the equipment and accessories that go along with them, have to move from racetrack to racetrack somehow. That is where truck drivers like Stewart-Haas Racing Transporter Scott Robbins come into play.

Robbins has spent most of his life surrounded by racing, even winning a couple of championships in NASCAR’s Busch East and Busch North Series. So, when he left the U.S. Army after 21 years of combat truck driving, he decided to move down South and work with race cars full-time.

“I came down to be a mechanic, then I just slid into the truck driving part of it because it is more of what I know,” Robbins said. “I know trucks. I know how they work and how to get them down the road.”

For many truck drivers, moving NASCAR cars around the country sounds like a dream come true. Making sure the car makes it to the track on time is only one aspect of Robbins’ job, though. Once Robbins makes it to the track, he unloads his truck and gets to work helping the crew, running gasoline and making sure the truck is clean.

“The guys out there that are running freight, this country needs them. They always tell us we have a great job, but driving our trucks is only about 10 percent of our job,” Robbins said. “It is not all glory and glam. We’re basically the roadies of NASCAR.”

Clint Bowyer, who drives the No. 14 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, made it clear that the success of any given race depends on haulers like Robbins. 

“Our truck drivers are the hardest-working guys on this show. They’re the hardest-working guys on any given weekend, anywhere in the country,” Bowyer said. “When they get [to the track], they don’t just get into the sleeper and sleep for the weekend. There’s so much they have to do, not just get all that stuff there safely.”

All truck drivers feel the pressure to get from place-to-place as efficiently as possible, but that pressure is magnified when the success of something as well-orchestrated and highly publicized as a NASCAR race rests on a driver’s shoulders. 

“When it comes right down to it, these trucks have to get to a certain place at a certain time, and scheduling is critical,” Old World Industries (OWI) Director of Events and Motorsports Brian Bohlander said. “There cannot be any mechanical breakdowns along the way, so the products used in the trucks have to be reliable to keep this logistical circus on the road.”

OWI is the parent company of PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant and BlueDEF, a popular diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Both PEAK and BlueDEF sponsor Bowyer and Stewart-Haas Racing.

DEF is used to lower the level of nitrogen oxide (NOx) concentrations in emissions. DEF not only enables heavy-duty trucks to meet environmental regulations, but almost all trucks manufactured over the past decade require the fluid to function. 

“One of the biggest reasons we are involved with teams like this is because all of these properties are essentially owner-operators with small fleets,” Bohlander said. “When you look at Stewart-Haas, they have a dozen trailers. These race teams are small fleets themselves, and they cannot miss any deadlines. There are no excuses or second chances. Either you make it or you don’t.”

Truck drivers keep America moving. That not only applies to getting food to grocery stores, building materials to work sites or delivering clean water to disaster zones. It also applies to sports, entertainment and recreation. 

Like any good NASCAR fan, Robbins said his favorite part of the job is winning.

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Ashley Coker, Editor

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She covers air cargo, trucking and sponsored content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.

7 Comments

  1. Damn right! Yet, our pay never goes up. In fact, the company I’m leased to hauling steel just cut rates by. about 20%…that’s coming right out of my bottom line. The steel industry is hurting due to tarrifs. I understand why we need them, eventually it should benefit ALL Americans, it just stinks we as a whole can’t ALL share in this burden so it doesn’t lay so heavily on truckers, and its effecting rates in the entire trucking industry. If it doesn’t improve soon, I’ll be looking for something else to do to make a living.

  2. To bad they never hire women that have no connection to anyone in racing. All pay for truckers suck.

    1. I beg to differ. I do a 600 mile run for FedEx Freight Monday through Friday and I sleep in my own bed every night. I make over 6 figures with great benefits. So to hear that all pay sucks is not entirely accurate.

  3. Recording to our heavy duty commercial truck driving job. Weather is local run or over the road. Crossing interstate. Our company driver & majority of our owner operator. Single truck and trailer own-op. Not getting right and correct pay. And while we do our heavy duty delivery job. Driver need sold shift time start. And daily sold shift time off. With follow by fedrele law schedule. Because commercial truck driver. Get scramble working schedule day and night. And driver health get rune. Also, concerning about fuel price. Are all time high. Is our trucking business company. Following federal law. Yearly net gross business trucking company earning. Is our trucking business company are running on right track? What is trucking business company status on their business? Compare to their yearly net gross earning. Or these trucking business company. What they paying to their employee, company driver, owner-op, sub-hular. The most important is our happiness federal and state benefit. To working heavy duty commercial driver.

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