Dennis Shirar, a Heritage Transport LLC professional truck driver who drives tankers for an Indianapolis, Indiana, hazardous waste fleet, was named the 2008 National Truck Driving Grand Champion.
Shirar's driving skills and knowledge of transportation and truck safety information topped those of 375 other professional drivers from across the United States in the National Truck Driving Championships held in August in Houston, Texas. The annual event is sponsored by the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
Also claiming victory was the Volvo VN that was driven to victory in five of the seven truck classes. Competitors chose the brand of truck they drive in the competition
The driver contestants were the state champions in eight truck types from all 50 states. Collectively, they have driven 498,368,294 accident-free miles, according to ATA.
Drivers displayed their expertise in the driving skills they use daily. The competition course inside Houston's George R Brown Convention Center challenged their knowledge of safety, equipment, and the industry. The skills course tested drivers' ability to judge distances, maneuver tight spaces, reverse, park, and position their vehicle exactly over scales, before barriers, or around curves.
Shirar also won the individual straight truck driving competition. Joining Shirar as champions in their respective classes:
Tank Truck: John A Smith Jr - FedEx Ground (Mooreville, Mississippi)
Three-Axle: Victor K Wheeler - Roadway (Bountiful, Utah)
Four-Axle: Ryan R Kelley - FedEx Freight (Nora Springs, Iowa)
Five-Axle: Buner H Evans - USF Holland (Bremen, Georgia)
Five-Axle Sleeper: Karl R Bohrer - Wal-Mart Transportation (Katy, Texas)
Twins: Chris A Mahony - FedEx Freight (Kearns, Utah)
Flatbed: Ben S Moore Jr - Wal-Mart Transportation (Americus, Georgia)
Robert Romando, a three-axle driver for FedEx National LTL from Surprise, Arizona, was named 2008 Rookie of the Year. Romando has been a professional truck driver for 18 years and has over 700,000 miles of accident free driving.
The Georgia state truck driving championship team won honors as the highest scoring state team, followed by Indiana and West Virginia.