August 27, 2013 8:35 AM, EDT
Walmart Transportation’s Gary Harms Named 2013 Truck Driving National Grand Champion
Walmart’s Gary Harms — John Sommers II for TT

Gary Harms, a Walmart Transportation driver based in Olathe, Kan., was named the 2013 Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion at the annual NTDC competition held last week in Salt Lake City.

Harms’ driving skills and knowledge of transportation and truck safety information topped more than 400 U.S. professional truck drivers at NTDC, the annual “Super Bowl of Safety” sponsored by American Trucking Associations.

Harms, who said he didn’t expect to win the coveted best all-around driver award, said he carries cones in his truck and often goes to work an hour early to practice in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

“This competition is all about being prepared and being safe every day,” Harms said.

“Gary truly represents what is best about our industry,” ATA President Bill Graves said in a statement.

Harms, who driven for 30 years and has logged more than 1.7 million miles behind the wheel, began competing in his state truck driving championships in 2007. He succeeds FedEx Freight’s Don Logan as National Grand Champion.

This year marked Harms’ second trip to the NTDC. He placed first in the 4-axle class in 2011 and took top honors in this year’s 5-axle sleeper-berth competition.

Contestants were state champions in nine truck types from all 50 states. Collectively, they have driven more than 600 million accident-free miles.

Walmart Transportation is the trucking component of Walmart Logistics, which is in turn part of Wal-Mart Stores.

With more than 6,500 trucks and almost 62,000 trailers, Wal-Mart Stores is ranked No. 4 on the Transport Topics Top 100 listing of U.S. and Canadian private carriers.

Click here for a list of winners in all competition classes (ATA website).

For additional information, see the Sept. 2 issue of Transport Topics.