For the third year in a row, and fourth time in five years, a Con-way Freight driver has been named Grand Champion of the Bendix National Truck Driving Championships.
Paul Phillips, who drives for Con-way Freight out of Coarsegold, CA, bested 428 other professional drivers in the competition, which is sponsored by the American Trucking Assns. (ATA). Phillips has driven more than 1.6-million mi. over a 35-year career. He first competed in his state truck driving championships in 2004, making his second trip the national competition this year.
State champions advanced to the national championships.
“The National Truck Driving Championships showcase the industry’s commitment to safety,” said ATA president & CEO Bill Graves. “I applaud all the competitors for their efforts in making our highways safe, and congratulate Paul for demonstrating how a dedication to safe driving skills can make you a Grand Champion.”
The championships test drivers in the skills they use each day on the road. In addition to the Grand Champion, nine category winners were announced. Phillips took first in the individual straight truck driving competition.
Class winners also included:
Three-Axle: John Hazlett, ABF Freight System, Inc., Philadelphia, PA
Four-Axle: Gary Harms, Walmart Transportation LLC, Olathe, KS
Five-Axle: Hershel Evans, Holland, Bremen, GA
Flatbed: Edward Hawkins, Leavitt’s Freight Service, Springfield, OR
Tank Truck: Leo Flack, A. Duie Pyle, Inc., West Chester, PA
Twins: Jeffrey W. Payne, Reddaway, Cedar City, UT
Sleeper Berth: Joshua Carr, Walmart Transportation LLC, McCall, ID
Step Van: James Sheehan, FedEx Ground, Hendersonville, TN
Michael Andrews, a driver for HEB from Valley Mills, Texas, was named the 2011 National Rookie of the Year after competing in the Three-Axle division.
The Michigan state truck driving championship team won honors as the highest scoring state team, followed by Pennsylvania and Utah respectively.
Michael Barnes, a driver for Walmart Transportation LLC from Verona, Va. won the Vehicle Condition Award. Barnes participated in the Twins competition.
Laurier R. Dumont, a driver for YRC from Rochester, NH, was awarded the Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award. Dumont participated in the Five-Axle competition.
Marking his 20th year as a NTDC volunteer, Gary Tunsky from Minnesota was awarded the Life-Time Volunteer Award. During his career, Tunsky has competed and volunteered also at the state level and in 2000, was awarded the Minnesota Trucking Assns.’ Herb Ney Memorial Outstanding Service Award.