Special Coverage of the National Truck Driving Championships

XPO’s Ramos Captures New Jersey TDC Title

He’s Bound for NTDC After Prevailing in Straight Truck
New Jersey TDC winner Lorenso Ramos
Lorenso Ramos says he wants to compete at the level of Robert Dolan, the 1991 grand champion who is considered a master of the straight truck. (Eugene Mulero/Transport Topics)

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — New Jersey has a new best-in-show. Lorenso Ramos of XPO, competing in the straight truck class, conquered a challenging course en route to a grand champion performance at the showcase of the Garden State’s elite professional drivers.

Ramos punched his ticket to the National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships by surpassing a field of formidable colleagues and peers during a two-day event earlier in June.

He now will prepare to make his second trip to the big show, scheduled for mid-August in Columbus, Ohio.

The winning strategy at Harrah’s Resort’s expansive parking lot entailed carefully positioning the straight truck on maneuvers that tested precision handling skills.

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

Ramos also excelled in the contest’s written examination of industry regulations and pre-trip vehicle inspection disciplines.

“I practice every day and, you know, drive safely every day,” Ramos said June 4 during the awards ceremony. He was joined by his wife, Josefina, and son Alex. “Really focus on what you’re doing. Just put everything on the side and focus on your job.”

Over the years, Ramos has gained a deep appreciation for the craft. He often seeks guidance and mentoring from veteran drivers and competitors.

As he put it, “When you talk to the older drivers, you’ll really pay attention to what they say and follow their examples. So I try to follow and really listen to their advice all the time and really focus on whatever I’m doing.”

Getting to Know You

Lorenso Ramos

Name: Lorenso Ramos

Age: 41

Company: XPO

Vehicle Class: Straight truck

Favorite Food: Mexican

Last TV Show You Watched: The news.

Favorite Sports Team: Mexican national soccer team

When Do You Find Time To Practice: Every weekend.

What Do You Tell Yourself Before Competition: “Whatever is the outcome, keep trying.”

Ramos affirmed a commitment to continue to practice on the weekends for nationals and perfect his command of the straight truck.

Among his objectives is to perform at the same level as his driving hero, Robert Dolan.

The 1991 national grand champion from Pennsylvania, a recent recipient of the Neil Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award, is considered by many observers of the national tournament a master of the straight truck.

“I really want to be up to his level because I really like the way he’s won championships,” Ramos said about Dolan. “He’s the real deal. … He’s a good guy to learn from.”

At the awards banquet, XPO’s Wilbert Vano was named “Driver of the Year.” The award highlights an individual’s commitment to excellence and professionalism. 

Vano, last year’s New Jersey grand champion as well as national 3-axle champion, was humbled by the recognition. Due to a technicality, he was sidelined from competition this year. 

“It’s an honor,” he told Transport Topics. “Last year, my goal was to go to nationals and do my best, not realizing that I was going to be top in the country in that particular class.”

Other class winners from New Jersey:

  • 3-Axle: Jim Senor, FedEx Freight
  • 4-Axle: Carlos Chivarriaga, UPS
  • 5-Axle: Maciej Grzywna, UPS
  • Flatbed: Erminsul Vivas Pedraza, UPS
  • Sleeper Berth: Leszek Beben, FedEx Freight
  • Step Van: Jeffrey Handfield, UPS
  • Tank Truck: Keith Zujkowski, XPO
  • Twins: Miguel Valle, XPO
Lorenso Ramos family

Lorenso Ramos was cheered on by wife Josefina and son Alex, who assisted with his dad's hardware haul. (Eugene Mulero/Transport Topics)

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