Inside The Hendrick Race Transporters
- Sep 28, 2004
- Team Hendrick
With NASCAR teams competing at different venues around the country more than 35 weekends a year, the team’s race transporter, or hauler, is the key to getting the cars and equipment where they need to be on time.
Hendrick Motorsports teams use 18-speed Freightliner XL Classic tractors with an 84-inch sleeper to pull their race trailers all over the United States. The transport driver will leave the shop with the loaded hauler on Thursday except in cases when the races are held out west. For races in California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas, the transporter will leave a few days earlier and a second driver will assist the primary one for the extended trip.
Inside the trailer, everything the team need to compete for the weekend is packed tightly in a highly organized manner. The top section of the hauler contains a compartment which houses the primary and back-up cars. The Monte Carlo’s are lifted into this special section by the back door of the trailer, which serves as an elevator. This system was first pioneered by Formula One teams.
Along with the cars, the list of materials taken on the truck each week includes the team’s garage tool box, crash cart, generator, garage cart, engine tuner’s tool box, one spare engine, gears, transmissions, brakes, shock dyno, radios, uniforms, oil, tools, Gatorade, water, food, and more.
Besides housing all of the team’s equipment, the front of the trailer also has a lounge area. This section of the hauler contains an office-like room where driver, crew chief, engineer and crew members hold meetings. The lounge has network connections for the crew chief and engineer’s computers, as well as a TV, DVD player, fax machine and printer.
In addition to driving the hauler from venue to venue each week, the Hendrick transport drivers serve as members of their respective team’s road crew and many hold positions on the pit crew. For example, the transport driver for the DuPont team, Jeff Craven, also serves the gasman on race day.
Besides working at the track and on the road, Hendrick transport drivers also play a key role in “turning around,” or unloading and reloading the trailers for the races each week.
The trucks usually return to Hendrick Motorsports on Monday or Tuesday depending on the location of the previous race. During the middle of the week, transport drivers work with other team members to have haulers restocked and set for the next weekend’s race as well as make sure that the tractor and trailer are in top condition.
For a better view of a race transporter, Champions Club members can check out a virtual tour of a Hendrick Motorsports hauler by clicking on the virtual tour link titled “No. 25 GMAC Hauler” on the No. 25 GMAC Racing Team Page.