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Arkansas Drivers to Compete at National Championship

Arkansas Trucking Championship Winners 2016

Arkansas’ best truck drivers to compete at national championship

The Arkansas Trucking Association is sending nine drivers to compete in the 2016 National Truck Driving Championship and National Step Van Championship in Indianapolis, Ind. Aug. 10–13. American Trucking Associations will be hosting more than 400 of the trucking industry's top professional truck drivers at the Indiana Convention Center for the 79th annual "Super Bowl of Safety."

"The safest and most accomplished truck drivers in the country are converging on Indianapolis for what we expect to be a competitive, fun event and one that will showcase the trucking industry's number one priority - safety," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "Drivers train year round to further improve their strong safety skills in hopes of taking home top honors at the National Truck Driving Championships."

Last month, nine drivers who live or work in Arkansas qualified for the national competition by winning first place in their respective classes at the Arkansas Trucking Championship, held in Rogers, Ark. on July 14-16.

“We couldn’t have a better team of drivers to represent Arkansas at this year’s championships,” said Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon Newton. “It takes more than just skill and knowledge of regulations to be a truck driver; the best drivers are passionate about safety and know that they share the road with families—yours, mine, theirs—every day and take that responsibility seriously. I can attest that the Arkansas team are some of the best drivers.”

Next week, state champions will compete in three phases of competition: a written examination testing background knowledge of rules and procedures pertinent to the trucking industry, a vehicle inspection to test competitors' ability to detect vehicle malfunctions and a driving skills test where competitors are graded on their ability to operate a truck through a series of obstacles.

Over three days, 430 competitors from all 50 states, including 34 first-time participants, representing 74 different companies will vie for honors in one of eight different classes and the title of Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion.

"These Championships are truly a win-win for both truck drivers and the motoring public," said ATA Chairman Pat Thomas, senior vice president of state government affairs with UPS Inc. "Truck drivers get a chance to demonstrate their safe-driving skills and knowledge of the industry's best practices, which they, in turn, take back to their daily work of delivering the nation's goods and safely sharing the highway with other motorists."  

The competition concludes on Aug. 13 with the announcement of the Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion, along with the winners of each vehicle class and an award for the top performing state delegation.

“The highways of our nation are the offices of these professional drivers, and no one is more invested in highway safety than they are,” said David O’Neal, director of safety services at the Arkansas Trucking Association.  “While the national championships are prizes worth competing for, the real victories have already taken place with the millions of safe driving miles achieved by these drivers. I’m proud to celebrate their accomplishments at the NTDC, and cheer them on even greater success.”

The Allied Committee for the Trucking Industry is premier sponsor of the 2016 National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships, taking place Aug. 10-13 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

Competitors representing the state of Arkansas include:

Step Van: Tyler Brown, FedEx Ground, Gentry, Ark.
Four-Axle: Jeffrey Cochran, FedEx Freight, Texarkana, Tex.
Tank Truck: Eric Coursey, Solar Transport, Benton, Ark.
Five-Axle: Loren Hatfield, ABF Freight, Maumelle, Ark.
Flatbed: Randy Lovell, Walmart Transportation, Benton, Ark.
Sleeper Berth: Gary Mars, Walmart Transportation, Fayetteville, Ark.
Twins: Larry Rhein, FedEx Freight, Harrison, Ark.
Three-Axle: Robin Sams, FedEx Freight, Texarkana, Ark.
Straight Truck: Darren Tyler, J.B. Hunt Transport, PawPaw, Mich.

“Arkansas has a strong team with several past competitors heading to nationals. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do at the highest level of competition,” O’Neal said.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Suite 185
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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