Penske Profile - Chris Yoder

January 28, 2015

Editor’s Note:  This is the second installment of the new “Penske Profile,” a series to highlight the myriad of employees, both past and present, that have helped shape and build Team Penske into what it is today.

When you visit the Team Penske facility in Mooresville, North Carolina, one of the first things that stands out is the huge transporter bay at the far end of the race shop, which houses the team’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series haulers.  Many don’t realize that those trucks are just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amount of transportation vehicles utilized at Team Penske.

The man who oversees it all is Chris Yoder, Team Penske’s Transportation Coordinator.

Yoder oversees 20-plus transportation drivers, 60 commercial vehicles and 35 street cars that travel over 600,000 miles in any given calendar year.  The position is part mechanic, part manager, part planner, part cheerleader – but always fun for Yoder.

Yoder, a native of Reading, PA, has been with Team Penske for 15 years.  After lining up a career in law enforcement that included a BA in Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina, a decision to move back to Pennsylvania to take care of some family business put him in the position to lead one of racing’s biggest transportation operations.

Always a fan of trucks and the trucking industry, Yoder initially signed on as a Penske Truck Leasing (PTL) employee and was in the management trainee program.  But racing was also a passion and Team Penske was a hopeful landing point.   However, rejection letter after rejection letter (many of which he still has at home) to join the racing operation only fueled his passion. 

Eventually, he would take vacation time from PTL to work for Competition East, the trackside tire vendor for Goodyear, where he mounted & balanced race tires at a number of tracks.  The hard work paid off and Yoder was eventually offered a job for Competition East and Penske Racing Shocks.  Things began to move quickly, and just two weeks later, Yoder got a call from the racing side of the house to join the legendary team.

He started as part of the racing experience program, which managed entertainment and hospitality for one of Team Penske’s largest partners.  He then moved to North Carolina to be a part of the Porsche road racing program.  Once the NASCAR and IndyCar programs merged in 2007, Yoder became the head man to all Team Penske’s transportation needs.

What are the team’s needs?

Over 60 commercial vehicles, which include race transporters and tractors, motorhomes, merchandise trailers, rollbacks and box trucks.  The company has over 35 street cars that are used internally, both Ford (NASCAR manufacturer) and Chevrolet (IndyCar engine manufacturer).  Over the course of the year, Yoder oversees these vehicles traveling over 600,000 miles and over 200 events (between races, tests and sponsor events) while utilizing over 100,000 gallons of fuel. 

And the job isn’t only equipment, which he also had to make sure is maintained, repaired, permitted, licensed and decaled properly, but also management.  Yoder has to schedule his 20 plus employees and make sure they are driving in the most-efficient manner and following all DOT guidelines. 

“I fully expect to encounter some type of issue every day I come into work,” said Yoder.  “Regardless of how many hours are spent planning, scheduling, and maintaining the equipment, the reality of it all is that things rarely go according to plan or without issue. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected, which allows me to focus my attention towards a solution and not get caught up in the emotion of the problem. Team Penske provides me with every resource imaginable, I just need to harness them.”

Yoder lives in Troutman with his girlfriend.