The American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC) begins its four-day run on Wednesday inside the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, sponsored by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, which returns for a sixth consecutive year to present the Grand Champion Award.
The overall top driver at the four-day event — scheduled through Saturday, Aug. 13 — receives the Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion Award. The company sponsors the award as part of its ongoing commitment to highway safety and support of the men and women whose skills and habits help make America’s roads safer.
Fred Andersky, Bendix director of government and industry affairs, said, “The NTDC is the industry’s premier stage for honoring America’s safe drivers, and Bendix welcomes the chance to support and take part. At every level, these drivers deserve our recognition and thanks for sharing our commitment to highway safety, and we extend wishes of good luck to all the 2016 contestants.”
Each year, drivers across the United States take part in nine classes of competition on company, state, and regional levels, aiming to win one of the 50 state trucking associations’ championships necessary to qualify for a spot at the NTDC. More than 430 of these top-notch drivers are expected to compete in this week’s 2016 championship event, supported by friends, family members, colleagues and spectators.
Inside the Indiana Convention Center, drivers’ expertise will be tested through a written exam, a pre-trip inspection test, and a skills-based competition course. Drivers must demonstrate extensive knowledge of safety, equipment, and the industry, and put their driving abilities to the test on a course that challenges them to drive, reverse, park, and position their vehicles with precision. Challenges include scales, barriers, and curves, offering the chance for drivers to showcase their abilities in handling their trucks, judging distances, and maneuvering through tight spots.
Ronald Emenheiser Sr., a Walmart Transportation professional truck driver based in Yorkana, Pa., was last year’s Grand Champion award winner. Other previous recipients of the Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion Award are Paul Phillips, who won in 2011 as a Con-way Freight driver from Coarsegold, Calif.; Don Logan, who took top honors in 2012 as a FedEx Freight driver from Topeka, Kan.; Gary Harms, who earned the award in 2013 as a Walmart Transportation driver based in Olathe, Kan.; and 2014 champion Jeffrey Langenhahn, a Con-way Freight professional truck driver based in Plover, Wis.