Special Coverage of the National Truck Driving Championships

Former NTDC Grand Champions Reflect on Driving Course

Two-Time Winner Bolduc, 2014 Titlist Langenhahn Look to Shine Again
Roland Bolduc
Roland Bolduc of FedEx Express steers his sleeper berth rig during the skills portion of NTDC in Columbus, Ohio, on Aug. 18. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — After tackling a driving course Aug. 18 most of their peers described as challenging, Roland Bolduc and Jeff Langenhahn acknowledged the venue pushed them to perform at a high level.

At American Trucking Associations’ 86th annual National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships, Bolduc with FedEx Express is competing in the 5-axle sleeper berth class. Langenhahn with XPO is driving in the twin-trailer division. The “Super Bowl of Safety” accommodates seven other vehicle classes. This year, 421 women and men are competing in the summer classic.

Bolduc from Connecticut, competing in his 18th national forum, took home top honors at NTDC in 2017 and 2022. Wisconsin’s Langenhahn, making his 11th trip to the national stage, garnered tournament top honors in 2014. The two trucking stars, driving on the tournament’s third day of competition, are the only former grand champions participating at NTDC this year.

Reflecting on his run inside the sleeper truck, Bolduc said it was “not as good as I’d like. Nowhere near what I would have liked.”

Jeffrey Langenhahn

"There’s a lot of problems where you have to come in from different angles,” twin-trailer competitor Jeffrey Langenhahn says of the NTDC course's challenging problems. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

“You can’t see anything. It’s a very hard visual course — shiny floor. Angles that were on with the sleeper unit, you can’t see anything,” Bolduc continued. “So it’s very difficult with a sleeper on the course.”

Overall, however, it wasn’t all bad.

NTDC 2023

2023 National Truck Driving Championships

NTDC Qualifiers |  Photo Gallery | Map of State Champions

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

“On the course, I scored on a few things, a couple of things that I know of,” he said. “I wanted some a little more than others; more problems than other problems that I didn’t get.”

And importantly, Bolduc made sure to carry with him his late father “Honest” George Bolduc’s pocket watch during his drive. About the watch, he explained, “Just having [my father] with me.”

Notwithstanding its sets of difficulties, Langenhahn said he believed he maneuvered well.

“The course is very challenging today. There’s a lot of problems where you have to come in from different angles,” Langenhahn explained. “So when I went through the course walk-through on [Aug. 16], you could tell it’s going to be a challenging course, and the scores are kind of showing it out there, too. It’s really — you have to think your way through the course.”

You can’t see anything. It’s a very hard visual course — shiny floor.

Roland Bolduc, sleeper berth driver for FedEx Express


Overall, the 2014 grand champion sought to maintain a glass-half-full perspective about the experience.

“My favorite part of the course was probably where you got to straddle the duck on that; it’d be the left-front steer tire,” he said. “They call it a roadkill problem. Instead of the duck being on the outside where you got to try to miss it that way … the duck is going underneath the truck, so you lose it.” Course judges use rubber ducks as obstacles.

My favorite part of the course was probably where you got to straddle the duck.

Jeffrey Langenhahn, twin-trailer driver for XPO

Langenhahn continued, “You try to make your turn over on the other side of it. So that was a different take, and it’s neat. That was probably my favorite part.”

The 86th annual “Super Bowl of Safety” culminates Aug. 19 with a final driving round as the top five finishers in the nine vehicle truck classes advance for a shot at a national title. Winners are announced subsequently at an awards gala.

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