Among the tasks judged is precision driving around a curve. The goal is to get the right steer tire as close to the large rubber duck as possible without touching it. The driver obviously cannot see the duck within several feet of it.
Jeffrey Langenhahn, a Con-way Freight driver based in Plover, WI, topped 425 other professional drivers to take top honors as the 2014 Bendix Grand Champion at the 77th annual National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC) in Pittsburgh, PA, on Aug. 16. Langenhahn, who has 28 years as a driver with more than 1.9 million miles, began competing in his state truck driving championships in 1997 and has participated in the national championships four times. He also was the champion in the twins class.
The NTDC contestants were the state champions in nine truck types from all 50 states. Together, they had driven nearly 653.7 accident-free miles.
Other key winners were David Guinn, a driver for Publix Super Markets Inc. from Mulberry, FL, who was named 2014 Rookie of the Year, and the drivers from North Carolina who together had the highest scores of any state’s team.
In written and skills tests, drivers were tested on their knowledge of safety, equipment and the industry and on their ability to judge distances, maneuver tight spaces, reverse, park, and position their vehicle exactly over scales, before barriers or around curves.
The winners in the nine vehicle classes are:
Straight Truck Class
First Place: Brendan Sharp, FedEx Freight (Henderson, CO)
Second Place: Rene Molinary, FedEx Express (Coral Springs, FL)
Third Place: Guy Frederickson, FedEx Ground (Kaukauna, WI)
First Place: Basher Pierce, FedEx Freight, (Sophia, NC)
Second Place: Edward Pennington, FedEx Freight (Jacksonville, FL)
Third Place: Joseph Hicks, Con-way Freight (Johnston, RI)
First Place: James Quarles, Walmart Transportation LLC (Laurens, SC)
Second Place: Roy Garcia, Peninsula Truck Lines, Inc. (Otis Orchards, WA)
Third Place: Edward Carlson, FedEx Freight (Portland, OR)
First Place: Wayne Gootee, Walmart Transportation (Brooklyn, MI)
Second Place: William Hill, Old Dominion Freight Line (Marsing, ID)
Third Place: Richard Hill, Walmart Transportation (Conway, NH)
First Place: Paul Brandon, FedEx Freight (Oxford, CT)
Second Place: Brian Walker, UPS Freight (Randleman, NC)
Third Place: Randall Stromlund, UPS Freight (Sparks, NV)
Tank Truck Class
First Place: Christopher Miller, United Petroleum Transports (Cowetta, OK)
Second Place: Gary Nickell, The Boeing Company (Fox Island, WA)
Third Place: James Kroschel, US Foods (Maplewood, MN)
First Place: Jeffrey Langenhahn, Con-way Freight (Plover, WI)
Second Place: David Martinez, H-E-B (Natalia, TX)
Third Place: Jeffrey Payne, Reddaway (Cedar City, UT)
Sleeper Berth Class
First Place: Matt Awbrey, Walmart Transportation LLC (Franklin, GA)
Second Place: Ralph Garcia, ABF Freight System Inc. (Albuquerque, NM)
Third Place: Steve Elliston, Walmart Transportation, LLC (Sparta, MI)
First Place: Christopher Shaw, FedEx Express (Albuquerque, NM)
Second Place: Thomas Reinold, FedEx Express (Sutton, MA)
Third Place: Nick Frazier, FedEx Ground (Granby, MO)