Special Coverage of the National Truck Driving Championships

‘Family’ Reunion: Swan Qualifies for Sixth Nationals

FedEx Freight Driver and 3-Axle Champ Claims Colorado Crown
Paul Swan (left), John Hahn
FedEx Freight driver Paul Swan is all smiles as he displays the grand champion trophy with Capt. John Hahn of the Colorado State Police. (Colorado Motor Carriers Association)

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It is a proven recipe to make commercial drivers win at safety tournaments.

At his state competition in June, Colorado’s Paul Swan of FedEx Freight understood how to navigate an intricate course — in rainy weather — while maintaining his focus on mastering the event’s challenges. The key ingredient for his success: preparation.

“I just go over everything in my head constantly. And I’m super dedicated to doing the right thing on a daily basis, not to mention in the Roadeo,” said Swan, emphasizing a strategy that helped him advance to the national event. “I will always put in my best effort. So I just prepare myself.”

As this year’s Centennial State grand champion, Swan punched his ticket to a sixth trip to American Trucking Associations' National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships. The precision-driving “Super Bowl of Safety,” as it is known, will be held in mid-August in Columbus, Ohio.

Getting to Know You

FedEx driver Paul Swan


Name: Paul Swan

Age: 58

Vehicle: 3-axle

Company: FedEx Freight

Favorite Food: Deep-dish pizza

Last TV Show You Watched: “Quarterback” on Netflix

All-time Favorite Vacation: Golf resort in Nevada

Sports Hero: Retired NFL quarterback Drew Brees

When Do You Practice for NTDC: Saturday mornings

What Do You Tell Yourself Before Driving at NTDC: “Seat belt. Mirrors. Focus.”

Something People Don’t Know About You: “I was actually an amateur diver; springboard diver. And I was competing to try to get into the Olympic trials when I was 17 years old. And I missed it by about four spots.”

Operating in the 3-axle, Swan said he is most comfortable in the vehicle class regardless of weather conditions.

“I do enjoy the 3-axle. It’s what I normally do probably 70% of the time at my job. It is a little bit, I think, a little bit harder class to win just because it’s a little bit smaller vehicle; a little bit easier to maneuver,” Swan explained.

“But I think with the dedication and the practice that I put in on my weekends on my time, I prepare myself pretty well for it,” he added.

Returning to nationals will feel similar to a family reunion for many competitors. More than 400 women and men have qualified for the summer classic.

Swan looks forward to connecting with like-minded colleagues.

As he put it, “It’s almost like you’re visiting family members that you get to see once a year. You know, it’s just really good camaraderie, not only with our FedEx people [FedEx Freight drivers captured eight of the nine classes], with other companies.

“You know, we see the same handful of people every year, and it’s good to see them again. And it’s, you know, it’s just like visiting a family member. These same guys keep going year after year after year.”

Swan added, “That’s dedication to being safe. So it’s great to see these people — sure there is a competition, and we’re all involved in it — but I think it’s more like visiting your family you get to see once a year.”

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

Other Colorado winners:

4-Axle: Mark Lannerd, XPO

• 5-Axle: Nick Gaudette, FedEx Freight

Flatbed: David Van Kirk III, FedEx Freight

Sleeper Berth: Tyler Rogers, FedEx Freight

Step Van: Steve Johnson, FedEx Freight

Straight Truck: Ryan Snyder, Fed Ex Freight

Tank Truck: David Mogler, FedEx Freight

Twins: Todd Flippin, FedEx Freight

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