A family that practices truck driving together wins grand champion titles together.
This can be said for XPO Logistics’ Jeff Langenhahn, who won Wisconsin’s grand champion title May 18-19 at the Wisconsin Truck Driving Championships. Langenhahn also won the Twins class and captured the Ray Newberry “Mr. Safety” award.
As a result, Langenhahn has earned another trip to nationals, where he won grand champion honors in 2014. And with the support of his family, Langenhahn is determined to win national grand champion honors again.
Langenhahn with his awards for safety and for becoming 2018 state grand champion. (Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association)
To prep for this year’s competitions, Langenhahn spends his weekends with his wife, Nicole, and their kids running through courses and practicing pre-trips. Their team of kids consists of Lauren, 24; Nicholas, 17; Hannah, 16; Shayla, 13; and Nora, 8. The family will set up a course at Langenhahn’s terminal in Plover, Wis. Then his wife and kids will create pre-trips for him and judge him while he drives through the various courses they build.
“On the weekends leading up to it, my whole family will go out there, and we’ll practice for several hours,” Langenhahn said.
In addition to practicing with his family, in his spare time, Langenhahn will read the “2018 ATA’s Facts for Drivers” book.
Who: Winners from nine categories at the state level advance to the national competition, with a grand champion crowned
What: Contestants are judged on a written examination and their driving skills
When: Aug. 15-18
Where: Columbus, Ohio
Langenhahn’s recipe for success is to “practice hard leading up to it and staying focused and doing the best I can.”
So far, Langenhahn’s recipe for success is working.
After winning Twins and earning grand champion honors at nationals in 2014, Langenhahn won Tank Truck in 2016. This is his ninth time as a champion in Wisconsin. He won Twins in 2008, 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2016; Tank Truck in 2010, 2011 and 2016; and 3-axle in 2017.
This is Langenhahn’s second honor as Wisconsin’s Grand Champion; he won in 2009, a year in which he captured the Ray Newberry “Mr. Safety” award as well.
While Langenhahn has competed in various classes over the years, the Twins class holds a special place in his heart after winning that event the year he was national Grand Champion.
Langenhahn with his wife, Nicole, after winning national grand champion honors in 2014. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)
“Twins is my favorite,” Langenhahn said. “It’s challenging because you have two trailers, plus that’s what I drive every day.”
While Langenhahn’s favorite is the Twins class, he holds an appreciation for the different challenges the other classes present at the championships too.
Wisconsin in Pictures
At the national competition in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 15-18, Langenhahn hopes to secure another Twins victory as well as another national grand championship.
“It was really exciting, especially in 2014 when I won the grand champion award,” Langenhahn said. “I couldn’t believe it. It was a dream come true for me.”
For drivers competing at the national competition for the first time, Langenhahn offers some advice.
“Try to stay as relaxed as you can. It’s easy to get hyped up and uptight, nervous, but stay calm and just do what you know how to do,” said Langenhahn.
Other Wisconsin winners headed to nationals are:
- Gary Reimer of FedEx Freight in 3-axle
- Andrew Rynearson of XPO Logistics in 4-axle
- Duane Staveness of FedEx Freight in 5-axle
- Brent Glasenapp of FedEx Express in Flatbed
- Jeremy Steger of XPO Logistics in Sleeper
- Nick Jarntowski of Old Dominion Freight Line in Straight Truck
- Gary Pingel of Old Dominion Freight Line in Tank Truck