Paul Phillips, a Con-way Freight professional truck driver from Coarsegold, Calif. was named the 2011 Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion. Paul's driving skills and knowledge of transportation and truck safety information topped those of 428 other professional drivers from all across the United States in the National Truck Driving Championships, held in Orlando, Fla. The 74th annual "Super Bowl of Safety" is sponsored by the American Trucking Associations.
In route to his title, Paul has logged 35 years as a professional truck driver, with over 1.6 million miles behind the wheel. Paul began competing in his state truck driving championships in 2004, and this year he made his second trip to the National Truck Driving Championships.
The contestants were the state champions in nine truck types from all 50 states. Collectively, they have driven 595,155,665 accident-free miles.
In their respective classes, drivers tested their expertise in the driving skills they use daily. The competition course inside the Orange County Convention Center challenged their knowledge of safety, equipment and the industry. The skills course tested drivers' ability to judge distances, maneuver tight spaces, reverse, park, and position their vehicle exactly over scales, before barriers or around curves.
"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."
Paul also won the individual straight truck driving competition. Joining Paul as champions in their respective classes:
Straight Truck: CA - Paul Phillips, Con-way Freight, Coarsegold, Calif.
Three-Axle: PA - John Hazlett, ABF Freight System, Inc., Philadelphia, Pa.
Four-Axle: KS - Gary Harms, Walmart Transportation LLC, Olathe, Kan.
Five-Axle: GA - Hershel Evans, Holland, Bremen, Ga.
Flatbed: OR - Edward Hawkins, Leavitt's Freight Service, Springfield, Ore.
Tank Truck: PA - Leo Flack, A. Duie Pyle, Inc., West Chester, Pa.
Twins: UT - Jeffrey W. Payne, Reddaway, Cedar City, Utah
Sleeper Berth: OR - Joshua Carr, Walmart Transportation LLC, McCall, Idaho
Step Van: TN - James Sheehan, FedEx Ground, Hendersonville, Tenn.
Paul Phillips succeeds Carl Krites, a professional truck driver also with Con-way Freight from Wapakoneta, Ohio, as the National Grand Champion.
ATA's Truck Driving Championships included top professional truck drivers from around the nation competing at state and regional levels to make it to the national competition Aug. 9-13 in Orlando, Fla. The Orlando NTDC annually attracted over 2,000 cheering friends, family, colleagues and spectators.
2011 National Truck Driving Championship Winners:
Straight Truck Class
CA - Paul Phillips, Con-way Freight, Coarsegold, Calif.
AZ - Sean Saxon, FedEx Ground, Scottsdale, Ariz.
CO - John Lopez, Reddaway, Ranch, Colo.
PA - John Hazlett, ABF Freight System, Inc., Philadelphia, Pa.
VA - Michael Stickley, Con-way Freight, Middletown, Va.
MS - Virgil Boyanton, FedEx Freight, Florence, Miss.
KS - Gary Harms, Walmart Transportation, LLC, Olathe, Kan.
MA - Kenneth Ferencie, Norwell, Mass.
OK - Larry Kendall, FedEx Express, Tulsa, Okla.
GA - Hershel Evans, Holland, Bremen, Ga.
WA - John Enyeart, Safeway Stores, Inc., Ravensdale, Wash.
OK - Russell Beachler, FedEx Freight, Moore, Okla.
OR - Edward Hawkins, Leavitt's Freight Service, Springfield, Ore.
NH - Mark Bailey, Walmart Transportation LLC, Springvale, Maine
ME - Robert Magnuson, Hannaford Trucking Company, Portland, Maine
Tank Truck Class
PA - Leo Flack, A. Duie Pyle, Inc., Westchester, Pa.
SC - Thomas Winston, FedEx Freight, Greenville, S.C.
TX - Thomas Wilson, H-E-B, Katy, Texas
UT - Jeffrey Payne, Reddaway, Cedar City, Utah
NY - Gerald Thompson, Con-way Freight, Grand Island, N.Y.
CA - Gary Martin, FedEx Ground, Galt, Calif.
Sleeper Berth Class
OR - Joshua Carr, Walmart Transportation, LLC , McCall, Idaho
LA - Pat Rudesill, FedEx Ground, Hammond, La.
MT - Brandon Hicks, Mergenthaler Transfer & Storage, Helena, Mont.
TN - James Sheehan, FedEx Ground, Hendersonville, Tenn.
WI - Timothy Cole, FedEx Ground, Muskego, Wis.
MA - Robert Ledoux, FedEx Express, Swansen, Mass.
Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion: Paul Phillips, Con-way Freight, Coarsegold, Calif.
National Rookie of the Year: Michael Andrews, HEB, Valley Mills, Texas
Team Trophy: The Michigan state truck driving championship team won honors as the highest scoring state team, followed by Pennsylvania and Utah respectively.
Vehicle Condition Award: Michael Barnes, Walmart Transportation LLC, Verona, Va.
Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award: Laurier R. Dumont, YRC, Rochester, N.H.