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TDOT trucks help out during race weekend

By Laura Halm
Published On: Mar 17 2013 04:41:08 PM CDT
TDOT HELP TRUCKS
BRISTOL, Tenn. -

Kasey Kahne and Danica Patrick are lucky enough to have pit-crews to help out in case their car overheats.

But for the average driver, there's no pit crew -- so help trucks are visiting the Tri-Cities this weekend. We rode along with a Highway Response Truck helping race fans with car troubles.

Locked and loaded, David Leake spends a lot of time on the road keeping a close-eye out for broken-down cars. He's one of three HELP Truck drivers sent up to Bristol, by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, during race weekend.

You'll be able to spot a truck on Interstate 81, Highway 394, and Highway 11-E. "What we'll do for traffic is try to keep people moving and of course a lot of people after the race have a question on how do I get to the interstate," said Leake. Crews always have an answer, since they have state maps they hand out.

Lucky for drivers, help is free and these trucks are essentially a first-aid kit for cars. Carrying everything from gas to tools in case a driver needs a tire changed or a jump-start. "Batteries tend to take a pretty good beating on a race weekend. Anything where you're sitting in traffic, engines will overheat and you may get a flat from parking on the shoulder," added Leake.

It's not only cars getting assistance, while we were on the road with Leake, we ran into a tractor trailer needing some extra coolant.

But Leake says these Highway Response Operators are in the Tri-Cities for one reason, "We're here to help, we're here to help."

We've learned the HELP Trucks will also be out assisting with traffic as fans leave the track Sunday evening.