INDIANAPOLIS — Charles "Mike" White, a Wal-Mart Transportation professional driver from nearby Nineveh, Indiana, was named Bendix Grand Champion of the 2016 National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships on Aug. 13.
White, who lives about 35 miles south of the Indiana Convention Center where the 79th annual competition was held, also took home the 3-axle class title.
"I can't wrap my head around this," White said. "I mean, it's my home state, my home turf. I really wanted to be grand champion, but I tell you, there are so many fantastic drivers here."
"After an impressive showing throughout the week, Charles White emerged as the most skilled and knowledgeable truck driver in the country," ATA President Chris Spear said. "On behalf of ATA and the trucking community, I want to congratulate Charles and thank the entire field of competitors for participating in these championships. Your commitment to excellence has made the nation's highways a safer place for everyone."
White's regional safety manager for Wal-Mart, Jennifer Gray, was on hand and said the honor was well-deserved. "I'm going to buy him a truck. He gets a new semi, whatever color he wants," Gray said. "He's been a great driver forever, but he's just a nice person, too. I think that people just don't know that he has a kind heart. He's very business, he's very professional. He's just an awesome individual."
PHOTO GALLERY: Scenes from NTDC 2016
NTDC 2016 FULL COVERAGE: Photos, video, news, features and more
Other major honors went to:
- Richard Merich of Lochbuie, Colorado, and FedEx Freight as the 2016 Rookie of the Year. Merich took home the honor after a strong performance in the flatbed division.
- The team of drivers from South Carolina, honored as the top state delegation after producing the best collective score, with an average of 278.13.
- Charles Woodland of Surprise, Arizona, and FedEx Freight as the winner of the Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award.
- Chris Ignowski of FedEx Ground as the winner of the Lifetime Volunteer Award.
Jeffrey Langenhahn, of Plover, Wisconsin, and XPO Logistics, the 2014 Bendix Grand Champion, won the tank truck division to highlight the winners of individual classes. Complete results are listed below.
|1||Charles White||Wal-Mart Transportation||Indiana|
|2||Jimmie Wisley||YRC Freight||Kansas|
|3||Robin Sams||FedEx Freight||Arkansas|
|4||Robert Fernald||Wal-Mart Transportation||Maine|
|5||Cedric Pack||FedEx Freight||Washington|
|1||Ronald Metternick||FedEx Freight||Michigan|
|2||Eduardo Camacho||H-E-B Grocery Co.||Texas|
|3||Allen Sohn||FedEx Freight||Iowa|
|4||Andres Orozco||FedEx Freight||Arizona|
|1||Toby Kort||FedEx Freight||Nebraska|
|2||Larry Warr||Wal-Mart Transportation||Florida|
|3||Daniel Bruch||FedEx Freight||New Mexico|
|4||Christopher Novak||FedEx Express||Vermont|
|5||Darren Bogart||Wal-Mart Transportation||Kansas|
|1||Jay Love||FedEx Freight||South Dakota|
|2||William Hill||Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.||Idaho|
|3||Donald Logan||FedEx Freight||Kansas|
|4||Robert Dean||XPO Logistics, Inc.||Washington|
|5||Curtis McMellon||XPO Logistics, Inc.||Louisiana|
|1||Larry Breen||Wal-Mart Transportation||Florida|
|2||Bryan Elges||FedEx Freight||Ohio|
|3||Ron Marker||Wal-Mart Transportation||Indiana|
|4||Roland Bolduc||FedEx Express||Massachusetts|
|5||Barry Geck||Wal-Mart Transportation||Utah|
|1||Charles Randolph||PITT OHIO||West Virginia|
|2||Glendon Buzzell||Wal-Mart Transportation||Maine|
|3||Wilbur Johnson||FedEx Freight||Florida|
|4||James Carver||Safeway, Inc.||Maryland|
|5||Jesse Benkert||Fedex Ground||Kentucky|
|1||Jeffrey Langenhahn||XPO Logistics, Inc.||Wisconsin|
|2||Kenneth Painter||XPO Logistics, Inc.||Montana|
|3||Allen Byrne||Wal-Mart Transportation||Utah|
|4||Steve Elliston||Wal-Mart Transportation||Michigan|
|5||Nickolas Backes||PITT OHIO||West Virginia|
|1||Chris Poynor||XPO Logistics, Inc.||Washington|
|2||Andrew Kelly||ABF Freight System, Inc.||Wyoming|
|3||James Luckadoo||UPS Freight||South Carolina|
|4||James McNeill||FedEx Freight||Mississippi|
|5||Stephen Black||Golub Corp/PriceChopper Supermarkets||New York|
|1||Frank Woods||FedEx Express||Virginia|
|2||Jeff Evans||FedEx Ground||New York|
|3||Curtis Harpole||FedEx Ground||Oklahoma|
|4||Jason Imhoff||Wal-Mart Transportation||Ohio|
|5||Matthew Allison||FedEx Ground||Colorado|