For four scores, thousands of truck drivers have practiced countless hours in pursuit of the industry’s top prize: Grand Champion.
Many have fallen short in their quest. On Aug. 18 at the National Truck Driving Championships in Columbus, Ohio, 423 drivers will join the ranks of the fallen, while one driver will be crowned the next grand champion.
Six competitors at this year’s competition have already been to the mountaintop. Like the Energizer Bunny they keep going and going. They dominate at their state qualifiers to consistently return to the national arena for another taste of sweet victory.
At the time of their wins at nationals, Transport Topics was there to capture the reaction:
1990: Bob Dolan of Pennsylvania, then with A-P-A Transport, competing in straight truck: (Asked if he would return to defend his title the following year) “I’m going to try. But the competition at the state level and at the company level is very stiff. I won the state by one point this year, and it was because of my score on the written test. I was elated to make the nationals. I’m very happy it worked out this way.”
2007: Alphonso Lewis of Alabama, then with Roadway Express, competing in 4-axle: “I feel like I was wired to do this.”
2008: Dennis Shirar from Indiana, then with Heritage Transport, competing in straight truck: “This made all the weekends and weekdays of practice pay off. … I’m in disbelief, astonished and exhilarated.”
2012: Don Logan of Kansas with FedEx Freight, competing in flatbed. “I enjoy going down the road and operating a large piece of equipment. … It provides a great income to support my family and, as corny as it might seem, I’m moving a little piece of America every night.”
2014: Jeff Langenhahn of Wisconsin, then with Con-way Freight, competing in twins: (After the victory his family welcomed him home in style) “We came home from the airport, and they had a nice thing on the driveway with sidewalk chalk — ‘Congratulations, Grand Champion Trucker.’ ”
2017: Roland Bolduc of Massachusetts with FedEx Express, competing in sleeper berth: “We gotta stay safe. And, you gotta keep safety as a frame of mind.”
THE WEEK AHEAD: (all times EDT)
Aug. 13, 5:30 p.m.: The National Press Club hosts a book discussion on “The Briefing: Politics, The Press and The President.”
Aug. 15: The U.S. Senate convenes.
Aug. 15-18: National Truck Driving Championships in Columbus, Ohio.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
DUDE, WHERE’S MY TRUCK: Engine maker Cummins Inc. announced it will voluntarily recall 500,000 model-year 2010-15 medium- and heavy-duty trucks to replace a defective catalyst in the emissions control system.
MOST EXCLUSIVE CLUB: An aviation policy bill that includes a meal-and-rest-break provision pertaining to truckers is among the measures awaiting debate when the U.S. Senate returns from a shortened summer break Aug. 15, according to the chamber’s Republican leadership.
LIQUID GOLD: Pilot Flying J is expanding its business portfolio with a move into the water, sand and crude oil-hauling business.
ROAD TO NTDC:
How would you fare on the written test given to the competitors at this year’s National Truck Driving Championships? You can get an idea by taking our quiz based on the “Facts for Drivers” book used to test drivers’ proficiency.
Remember the video accompanying Rep. Bill Shuster’s infrastructure draft? A few sources around Capitol Hill told Transport Topics they already forgot about it, insisting the video missed the mark.
WHAT WE’RE READING:
The Wall Street casino catches up with Rep. Chris Collins.
The department recognizes that autonomous vehicles will need to have the capability to operate side-by-side with, you know, like transitional, traditional vehicles in both urban and rural areas.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao at a conference hosted by the American Legislative Exchange Council on Aug. 8
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers reminds you that “I Make America.”
The September Issue
Dolly Parton once said, "It takes a lot of money to look this cheap," but even that doesn't quite do Paul Manafort's menswear purchases justice. So we got fashion legend André Leon Talley (@OfficialALT) to come by and critique Manafort's style.— VICE News (@vicenews) August 9, 2018
(via @HBO) pic.twitter.com/8Cd25G8dKE