This Week in Ford Racing: February 16, 2010 Dewayne Zirkle, also known to his colleagues as 'Ryder', will embark on the first of his multiple cross country trips this week as primary hauler driver for the No. 6 UPS team of Roush Fenway ...
This Week in Ford Racing:
February 16, 2010
Dewayne Zirkle, also known to his colleagues as 'Ryder', will embark on the first of his multiple cross country trips this week as primary hauler driver for the No. 6 UPS team of Roush Fenway Racing. Zirkle, who is originally from Roanoke, VA, currently resides in High Point, NC, with his wife, Tammy, and three boys, Dennis (18), Dustin (14) and Dylan (13). He's been driving haulers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 2002 and recently spoke about the opening stretch of the season that sees him drive roundtrip from Concord, NC, to Daytona Beach, FL, and then to Fontana, CA, and Las Vegas, NV, before returning home.
DEWAYNE 'RYDER' ZIRKLE, Transport Driver - No. 6 UPS Team -
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE ALL OF YOUR DUTIES? "You've got to be kind of multi-talented because from a stick of gum to a transmission, the guys are gonna come running. The truck is like a workshop on wheels, so you're responsible for the truck. You're responsible for all the contents in it to make sure it gets on and off, plus you've got to make sure you have plenty of food for the guys. That's a big thing. And you've got to make sure it stays nice and neat and presentable at all times. You've got to be able to become a mechanic when they need you to, and be physically fit to run and get the car when you need to, so it's real broad."
WHAT ABOUT THE DRIVING PART? "The driving part is the enjoyable part because that's when we get to rest (laughing). You've always heard people say once you get trucking in your blood that it's always there and it's just part of the job that we really enjoy. We're just constantly moving and seeing something different and you always meet new people along the way, especially in these things. The haulers are like rolling billboards. There's a lot of attention. People are waving and honking their horn. When you stop to get fuel they gather around the trucks and talk to you. They want to see the cars and touch the truck, so this is the type of job where you have to like it or you'd never do it because there's so much involved."
WHAT IS THIS STRETCH LIKE GOING FROM DAYTONA TO NORTH CAROLINA TO CALIFORNIA TO LAS VEGAS AND BACK TO NORTH CAROLINA OVER THE NEXT TWO WEEKS? "It's one of the tougher trips. The only other one we have is Sonoma, which is a longer haul. That's a little over 50 hours compared to what we're going to do this week and next, which we consider a 40-hour run. We can do it in 36-38 hours because we've got it down to a science, but knowing that it's coming it's almost like a dreaded thought, but once you get into the motion and start into it, you start looking forward to it. We put together a gameplan. My backup driver will come to Daytona Sunday and we'll pull out and drive back to the shop. He'll turn the truck around Monday while I go home and get my laundry, my rest and my time off, and then when I come back (late Monday night) he'll get right into the sleeper and I'll pull out and do the first shift through the night before swapping the next morning (Tuesday)."
DO YOU LIKE DRIVING AT NIGHT? "I love driving at night. There's no traffic out there and if you get hooked up with two or three more haulers and get a little train going down the road, it's kind of fun. I just like driving at night and always have."
ANY FAVORITE STOPS ON THIS TRIP? "We all have our favorite little truck stops. Now my favorite stop is when we pop the brakes at California (joking). Most of the time when we stop it's at our favorite locations, but the time is cut so short that we don't have a whole lot of time to mess around. Like I said, we've got it down to a science where we know it's gonna take us 38 hours or less to get to California. In order to do that, what I'll do is as my shift is ending, I'll wake up my co-driver a couple miles before we get to the stop and pull into the truck stop. He'll jump out and run inside to wash his face and get something to eat while I'm fueling the truck. Then he'll come back and I'll run inside to get what I need. We usually try to do all of that in 20 minutes or less, so we can stay on schedule."
HOW MANY GALLONS OF GAS WILL THE HAULER TAKE? "We can put 240 gallons on the tractor and it'll last us a whole 10-hour shift. At the end of 10 hours you might have a quarter of a tank left, but you've got to fuel it to keep going. You can pretty much do the math as far as how much it costs at $2.70 a gallon, but it all depends where you're at because the further you go out west, the more expensive fuel costs. I had a situation one time where I pulled onto a reservation in New Mexico and I had to have fuel. I wasn't paying any attention and started fueling and then I looked over and saw it was $6.00 a gallon. I shut that pump off as fast as I could. We'll fuel about twice on the way out and then once we get there we'll top it off again. It takes about 10-15 minutes to fill it up."
-source: ford racing