Con-way Freight Driver Named Truck Driving Grand Champion

Third Consecutive Top Prize for a Con-way Driver
NTDC Champion Paul Phillips — Jon Sommers for TT

ORLANDO, Fla. — Paul Phillips, a Con-Way Freight driver from Coarsegold, Calif., was named the 2011 Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion.

Phillips edged out 428 other professional drivers from the United States, Canada and Mexico in American Trucking Associations’ 74th annual NTDC here last week.

It was the third year in a row that a driver from Con-way Freight has been named Grand Champion at ATA’s “Super Bowl of Safety.” Bendix Commercial Vehicles Systems sponsored this year’s Grand Champion award.

Phillips, a professional truck driver 35 years, has logged more than 1.6 million miles behind the wheel. He began competing in his state truck driving championships in 2004, and this year made his second trip to the nationals.

Phillips also won the individual straight truck driving competition, adding that he first entered to discover the level of his road skills. “I wanted to see how good I could be,” he said.

He follows 2010 winner Carl Krites, a Con-way Freight driver from Wapakoneta, Ohio, and 2009 winner Dale Duncan, a Con-way Freight driver out of San Diego.

James Sheehan, a driver for FedEx Ground in Hendersonville, Tenn., was named National Step Van Champion. This year was the second in which Step Van competition has been part of the NTDC.

Michael Andrews, a driver for HEB Grocery from Valley Mills, Texas, was named National Rookie of the Year after competing in the Three-Axle division.

The Michigan state truck driving championship team won honors as the highest scoring state team, followed by Pennsylvania and Utah.

Michael Barnes, a driver for Wal-Mart Transportation from Verona, Va., won the Vehicle Condition Award. Barnes participated in the Twins competition.

Laurier Dumont, a driver for YRC from Rochester, N.H., was awarded the Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award. Dumont participated in the Five-Axle competition.

John Sova, a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance-certified North American Standard inspector from North Dakota, was awarded the Inspector’s Championship. Sova took home the Jimmy K. Ammons Grand Champion Award for his combined performances in six competition elements.