Russell Durgasingh, 45

NAME, AGE: Russell Durgasingh, 45
HOMETOWN: Louisville, Ky.
LAST JOB: Drove patients to and from appointments

MARITAL STATUS/CHILDREN: Married, two children
WHAT SPARKED INTEREST IN A CDL: Employment demand and growth
FUN FACT: I love combative sports; I boxed and competed in mixed martial arts.

Russell Durgasingh Jumps In, Earns CDL

Maybe it’s his nature. Maybe it comes from his days as a fighter in the ring. Or maybe he learned his lesson after failing his CDL permit test Aug. 25.

Whatever the reason, Russell Durgasingh didn’t get cocky after passing the pre-trip portion of his CDL exam today in Louisville, Kentucky, and not just because examiner Evan Harrod only asked him do Part A, skipping everything behind the air lines.

“I’ve always had an issue with anxiety, so I’d rather jump in the deep end and start swimming,” Durgasingh said when asked why he volunteered to test first.

Video: Positive Outlook Aids Russell Durgasingh

After failing to pass the written CDL permit test on his first try Aug. 25, Russell Durgasingh could have been depressed. But that’s not his style.

He passed the next day and remains upbeat with his CDL road test looming Sept. 14. Durgasingh also isn't stressing about memorizing the 130-point pre-trip inspection as much as some of his six CDL or Bust classmates who spent much of Labor Day weekend studying.

“I think the break did me some good,” said the 45-year-old Durgasingh. “I was able to have some leisure time with the family. It’s best to actually [practice the pre-trip] at the range where you can actually see and touch the parts. It’s hard to retain the information if you don’t have something visual to attach to the words.”

Video: Russell Durgasingh Still Has One Aspect to Get in Gear

Learning to drive a truck has been a major shift for CDL or Bust student Russell Durgasingh. Literally.

“I need to work on my downshifting,” said the 45-year-old Durgasingh, a former boxer, mixed martial arts contestant, car salesman, factory worker and medical shuttle driver. “It’s a lot different than cars. I got my regular license in a stick [-shift]. It almost hurts you in a way, knowing how to drive a stick in a car. It’s hard to relearn.”

Video: Extra Studying Paid Off for Russell Durgasingh to Get Permit on Second Try

Russell Durgasingh had more than a few anxious moments after he failed to pass his CDL permit test on Day 4 of Transport Topics’ CDL or Bust series.

The 45-year-old former Golden Gloves boxer/mixed martial arts contestant said he rushed through the exam on Day 4 because of nerves and because he hadn’t taken a test that counted since he was in high school nearly three decades ago.

Video: How a Chance Encounter at Muhammad Ali’s Funeral Led Russell Durgasingh to CDL School

Russell Durgasingh called his attendance at the emotional funeral of boxing legend and Louisville native Muhammad Ali in June “life-changing.”

It also could be career-changing.

Photo by John Sommers II for Transport Topics