Special Coverage of the National Truck Driving Championships

Pre-Trip Master Shamrell Bound for 17th NTDC

Oregon Champ From FedEx Freight Goes By the Book
Jana Jarvis and Dan Shamrell
Oregon Trucking Associations CEO Jana Jarvis greets 4-axle winner and grand champion Dan Shamrell of FedEx Freight. (Oregon Trucking Associations)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

Dan Shamrell’s cheerful and friendly demeanor covers an overlooked fact: He is among the most accomplished pre-trip experts competing in precision-driving events.

The FedEx Freight standout took home grand champion honors at the Oregon State Truck Driving Championships earlier this summer. The blue ribbon performance in the 4-axle on June 10 marked his 17th qualification for American Trucking AssociationsNational Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships.

Shamrell’s résumé at nationals is the gold standard; he won the Vehicle Condition Award in 1997 and 2006. The honor is presented to the driver with the best pre-trip inspection.

He earned the national title in the 3-axle in 2006, and in 2017 he was recognized by the tournament committee with the prestigious Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award.

“I’ve been very blessed with all the years I’ve been able to participate and, you know — it’s been a fun ride. And to be able to achieve some of the things I have … I shake my head when I think about it sometimes. It’s just been a real pleasure,” he told Transport Topics recently.

NTDC 2023

The Road to the 2023 National Truck Driving Championships

State ScheduleNTDC Qualifiers | Map of State Champions | Photo Gallery

Who: Winners from nine categories at the state level who have advanced to the national competition, where a Grand Champion will be crowned

What: Contestants are judged on a written exam, pre-trip inspection and driving skills

When: Aug. 16-19

Where: Columbus, Ohio

The key to winning big in the Beaver State was simply hard work and preparation.

“I was very prepared for the test and, you know, had practiced pre-tripping and had worked with friends from FedEx to practice some courses. So I came in with a very good attitude of being prepared.

"And when I’m prepared for something — it ended up being a day where the course was pretty tight and the scores were pretty low, but I really felt like I had done well for the course that was put in front of me.”

From now until the start of the national contest, Shamrell said he is committed to practicing, especially on the weekends. The “Super Bowl of Safety” will be held in Columbus, Ohio, in mid-August.

Getting to Know You

Dan Shamrell of FedEx Freight


Name: Dan Shamrell

Age: 58

Vehicle: 4-axle

Favorite food: Lasagna

Last TV show you watched: M*A*S*H

Favorite movie: “True Grit” with John Wayne

All-time favorite vacation: Caribbean cruise

What do you tell yourself before driving at NTDC: “I just kind of calm myself down, thank the Lord for this gift of being there and … enjoy the ride.”

When do you find time to practice for NTDC: Saturday mornings

What is something people don’t know about you: “I’m an avid gardener and I pretty much can grow just about anything that will grow in the Pacific Northwest.”

Emphasis on reviewing the “Facts for Drivers” handbook, the basis for the contest’s written exam, is a priority. At nationals, competitors are judged on a written exam, a pre-trip vehicle inspection and a driving course.

As Shamrell put it, “I’m continuing to study the book. There’s so many facts and figures in that book that my mind needs to be repetitive in looking at that stuff in order to keep it fresh in my mind.

"I did have a couple of guys from FedEx win also in the state in different classes. So we’re going to get together for some practices a few different times.”

Other Oregon winners:

3-Axle: Heladio Fernandez, FedEx Freight

5-Axle: Christopher Outen, FedEx Freight

Flatbed: Tom Smith, Albertson's Companies

Sleeper Berth: Tom Crawford, Walmart

Step Van: Ryan Schmutzer, FedEx Ground

Straight Truck: Jonathan Holman, FedEx Freight

Tank Truck: Donald Pfeiffer, Albertson's Companies

Twins: Ronald Zeiser, FedEx Freight

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info: