Working with the folks at NASCAR to put these tractors together was a great experience. It's always easiest to put the right specs together when you have a relationship with the customer and it really didn't take long to build a relationship with Buster Auton and his crew. In fact the family atmosphere at not only NASCAR transportation, but with all the people we've come in contact with at NASCAR, fits right in for us at Mack. The two brands are a great match and it just makes things more exciting.
Buster and the transport drivers were all excited to have the Mack® tractors in their fleet, they had a couple they have been running for some time. So to have the whole team in Mack Pinnacles is a great sight.
We knew going in these would be high profile, high visibility tractors, and this is NASCAR -- so of course they would expect performance and uptime. These trucks go out to a race every week and as soon as they return they’re getting ready to leave for the next race. There are 41 races for 2016. So right away I knew they needed the MP8-505C+ 505 hp MP8 engines, mDRIVE™ transmissions and Mack's GuardDog Connect telematics platform for live fault code monitoring.
So GuardDog Connect was along to monitor the status of the truck at all times and a live operator monitoring the trucks and ready to call Buster and Al Johnson, Buster’s shop foreman should any faults occur is key.
In just a couple visits and some follow-up phone calls, Buster and I had put the tractors together. I met Buster first at their shop in Fall 2015 and again during the Chase at Charlotte Motor Speedway. From our conversations I understood most of the specs they needed. I already had in my mind; MP8-505C 505hp engines with mDRIVE, high-end interiors and lots of chrome and polished aluminum. But you can't assume anything and need to ask questions. I verified the above items and asked further questions about the sleeper, the wheelbase, the trailers they use, additional equipment they mount and so on. We ended up with a highrise sleeper to accommodate double bunks, a few items for the driver's needs, additional factory-installed dash switches for their equipment and several special items, but really nothing we hadn't done before or couldn't do. Buster had mentioned a few items they always added or did locally, but we were able to add them at the factory and save them some time and labor.
Check out a behind the scenes look from Mack's From A to B video series.