Ron Kelsey's "Sunrise Express" Triumphs in 2023

Truck Driver News: “Sunrise Express” Triumphs in 2023 Pride & Polish

Truck Driver News: For those in the trucking world, the name Ron Kelsey rings a bell, especially when paired with his iconic “Sunrise Express” – a 1981 Peterbilt 359. Kelsey, a seasoned competitor in Overdrive’s Pride & Polish competition, has once again made a mark by securing the title of Working Bobtail Champion in the 2023 contest.

Journey of Dedication and Passion

Kelsey’s journey with the “Sunrise Express” is not just a tale of winning trophies but a story of unwavering commitment to his craft. Since acquiring the truck in 1983, Kelsey has transformed it into a legend on wheels. This Peterbilt 359 isn’t just a showpiece; it’s a working beast, clocking around 100,000 miles annually, mainly hauling steel and pipe between Arizona and Texas.

Navigating Business Challenges

The trucking industry has faced its share of challenges, from soaring fuel costs to fluctuating spot rates. However, Kelsey’s strategic relationships with direct customers have helped him weather these storms. His customers, aware of the industry’s volatility, ensure a fair fuel surcharge, demonstrating the importance of strong partnerships in this sector.

The “Sunrise Express”: A Labor of Love

The 2023 victory wasn’t just a win; it was a testament to Kelsey’s dedication over four decades. The “Sunrise Express” largely remains the same powerhouse it was in 2021, with minor changes like replacing the rear fenders. These fenders, painted in an orange-to-yellow fade with ghost flames, maintain the truck’s signature look.

Kelsey’s touch is evident throughout the truck, from Vortox air cleaners to a custom paint job. The front fenders, crafted with drop sides, and the chrome rear light bars add to its majestic appearance. Notably, the 7-inch stacks, painted inside and adorned with LED lights, create a distinctive glow, enhancing the truck’s nighttime allure.

A Marble-Clad Interior

Inside, the “Sunrise Express” boasts a marble floor extending from the sleeper to the front of the seats. Kelsey’s persistence in achieving this unique feature highlights his attention to detail. After initial challenges with the marble cracking, he laid a concrete slab as a stable base, ensuring the marble’s longevity and elegance.

Under the Hood

Powering this iconic truck is an 800-hp C15 Cat engine, installed in 2019 and already clocking about 400,000 miles. The truck itself has an impressive 4.1 million miles on the odometer. Kelsey, an independent owner-operator, may be slowing down in operations, but his commitment to “Sunrise Express” remains unwavering.

Looking Ahead

As Kelsey contemplates reducing his mileage in the coming years, his bond with the “Sunrise Express” remains strong. He plans to retain the truck even post-retirement, keeping the door open for occasional runs. This truck, much like its owner, is a symbol of resilience, passion, and the enduring spirit of the trucking community.




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