OELWEIN | It's been a year-long battle covering thousands of miles leading up to today's NASCAR Sprint Cup championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
David "Dutch" Meyers of Oelwein has been behind the wheel all the way.
Meyers oversees the crew of drivers who transport all of the equipment to the various tracks each week and make it possible for fans from coast to coast to enjoy the action on television from the comfort of their living rooms.
Meyers spends most of the year traveling the NASCAR circuit, hooking up networks like ESPN and Fox Sports days before the flag drops to begin each race.
With 20 to 25 semi trucks loaded with equipment to set up, Meyers finds little time for himself from track to track.
"I am in charge of the tech support for NASCAR, and our trucks roll into the city hosting the race on Tuesday mornings," Meyers said. "We prepare our trucks for packing so everything is in order and fits in place to be interconnected for the next day.
"Wednesday mornings, the crew comes in early and we start building the television compound for the week. My truck has a special 52x21-foot awning and is divided into three offices," Meyers continued. "The front and middle offices are for the celebrities you see down in pit row and reporters, and the back half is my office and a hospitality room for guests and other celebrities."
Although Meyers lives most of the year out of his truck, it is not unfamiliar living quarters for him, as he has spent most of his life on the road.
Not bad for a guy who grew up in Aurora, a small town with a population of about 240 people.
"I grew up in a truck and have been a truck driver ever since I graduated high school," Meyers said. "I drove for a company for 26 years and I thought this is where I would retire."
Unfortunately for Meyers, the company was sold and new management made changes that Meyers did not agree with, so he left and searched for new employment.
In April 2005, Meyers landed a job at Featherlite Trailers in Cresco and quickly climbed into the seat as the second driver for NBC Sunday Night Football.
Two years later, the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the Fox Network and TNT Television trucks covering NASCAR became available and Meyers hit a new road that also included ESPN Monday Night Football.
"I would do NASCAR half the year and football the other half," Meyers said. "I would also get down on the field at NFL games and operate one of six parabolic microphones catching the sounds of the game on the field.
"Being out on the road and having different duties, I began to form a family-type bond with a lot of network celebrities," added Meyers, whose long list of well-known acquaintances include Mike Tirico of ESPN and racing reporter Krista Voda. Voda is an Iowa native, as well, attending school in Clinton, and eventually going to college at the University of Northern Iowa.
"I spend more time with these people than I do with my own family," Meyers added.
The family that shares little time with Dave consists of his wife, Dana, and two children, Haileigh and Mitchel.
"I do get five to six weeks off throughout the season and try to get home as much as possible," said Meyers, who also spends the two months of NASCAR's offseason relaxing at home.
"My life as the wife of a NASCAR employee is pretty busy," Dana said. "While Dave is out traveling the country I take care of things back home. Thank goodness I have learned how to fix some things or I at least know who to call.
"We stay in touch via cell phones and once in a while I will get to join him on the circuit and that is a nice break for me."
Meyers is finding many rewards in his current position.
"My year starts with the first race in Daytona and ends with the big championship race at Homestead in Miami," he relates. "I have met most of the drivers on the circuit and even some of the good old guys like Richard Petty and Kenny Wallace.
"I get to drive some of the best equipment from Featherlite, who is the official trailer of NASCAR, stay in the best hotels and eat at some of the best unknown places across the country. Heck, I even won a sports Emmy with NASCAR on Fox in 2007.
"I was looking for a job to retire with. This is a pretty good one right here."