Greg Sorber, 39, said he likes to fly under the radar, but at 6-foot 5 inches and 260 pounds, it’s hard to do. Not to mention he’s a hauler driver for the country’s most popular motorsport NASCAR, in its highest division, the Sprint Cup Series.
“I get to do what I love and get paid for it. How cool is that?” Sorber said.
Sorber, who has been with Penske Racing since 2008, has been a hauler driver for popular racers like Sam Hornish Jr. and A.J. Allmendinger. He currently hauls for 2015 Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano. The Feb. 22 Daytona win was a huge victory for Sorber, who spent about 19 years hauling a racecar for his family’s race team.
“There are seven or eight cars that go home every year. For a good number of years we were one of those cars. It’s not fun,” Sorber said. “After Joey crossed the finish line he was yelling on the radio. He was kind of in as much disbelief as we were. We were throwing beer and champagne all over the place, it was crazy.”
Winning NASCAR’S biggest race was a far cry from his early days, growing up in the tiny coal-mining town of Shickshinny, Penn. His family lived just 10 minutes away from Jimmy Spencer, a racing television commentator and retired NASCAR driver.
“When Jimmy won his two modified championships I went to a lot of the races,” Sorber said. Spencer’s nickname was “Mr. Excitement” for his aggressive racing and Sorber still has a blue satin jacket with “Mr. Excitement” on the back. “I don’t see him around the race track much anymore, but a year or two ago at Michigan he asked me how my uncle was doing, to wish everyone well and told me good luck. He’s just a cool guy.”
Growing up, Sorber spent most of his days working at his uncle’s car dealership and towing company.
Though Sorber didn’t race, his family became intertwined in the racing world by starting McGlynn Motorsports, where he helped with mechanics and later got his CDL.
Unlike the 2015 Freightliner Cascadia he drives now, Sorber said he once had to drive a day cab with no sleeper with a 300-cubic-inch diesel motor to Seattle.
“If it wasn’t for that day cab, I wouldn’t be in this brand new truck now. It’s the proverbial apples to oranges, there is no comparison,” Sorber said of his Cascadia. “They really have the driver’s interest in mind. If you didn’t look in the mirror and see the trailer 80 feet behind you, you’d think you’re driving an SUV. It’s quiet and has a ton of room.”
His uncle, Ray McGlynn, found success with the team, racing in the then-Craftsman Truck Series (now the Camping World Truck Series) in 1997. The family packed up the team about 10 to 12 years ago.
However, Sorber had his sights set on being a NASCAR hauler driver. But times were tough for him and his wife of almost 20 years Jennifer, saying “we just about lost everything we had in the process.”
Sorber finally landed at HT Motorsports out of Lynchburg, Virginia in 2006 hauling for the truck series. Two years later, his dream came true: a call from Penske Racing and he’s never looked back.
And he’s a champion at what he does. Sorber is the 2014 Freightliner Trucks Run Smart Hauler Challenge winner. At the beginning of the competition, 44 drivers were entered and Sorber excelled in driving skills from backing up to parallel parking at driving courses set up at various racetracks. He won $7,000, a trophy and a custom wood replica of a 2015 Freightliner Cascadia.
“I’ve seen a lot of people win that contest and I really never knew if I was going to be able to do that,” Sorber said. “It’s a little bit of validation.”
When he’s not traveling he enjoys spending time with his wife and their two daugthers, Brianna, 17 and Kalee 13 in Mooresville, N.C.
“Brianna is a senior in high school, looking forward to college. Kalee is a violin-playing fool,” Sorber said with pride. “Brianna is 6-foot-1 and Kalee is 5-foot-10. They got daddy’s height gene for sure. My daughters have grown up to be pretty incredible people.”
There’s also the furry “adopted children,” Zeus, a Boxer/American Bulldog mix and Thor, a Mastiff mix.
“Both of our dogs are rescues. We’ve fostered a few dogs; we’ve had a couple with special needs. The last dog we had was 100 percent blind. She was a full-blooded Boxer and we had her for a while, she finally got adopted,” Sorber said. “There’s nothing that beats the love you get from a dog that’s been abused or forgotten.”
Though Sorber is thankful for living his dream, it’s not without sacrifices and his wife has been his rock.
“She stuck through it and I love her to death for it,” Sorber said. “I couldn’t do it if it wasn’t for her. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Q&A with Greg Sorber
1. Who is your favorite comedian?
I was a 1980’s kid, so I liked “Saturday Night Live.” I’ve got to go back to Eddie Murphy.
2. What is a quirk or unique personality trait you have?
I’m self-proclaimed obsessive compulsive. I think it helps me do my job. You almost have to be. It’s taken me a good number of years to get used to the fact that the guys I work with are hogs and they will make a complete mess out of my trailer.
3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’d go back to Pennsylvania … I miss my family. It’s hard coming from a family who worked and lived together and not having them there anymore.