400 State Driving Champions To Vie for National Title
July 19, 2000
The most outstanding truckers in the country will have their chance to experience the "thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" beginning August 9 in New Orleans at the American Trucking Associations National Truck Driving Championships.
Presented by ExxonMobil, the "Super Bowl of Safety"' will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, 900 Convention Center Boulevard, and will feature 400 state champion truck drivers from all 50 states in competition in nine types of trucking industry vehicles.
The event opens Wednesday, August 8 at 9:30 AM, when ExxonMobil hosts a Safety Roundtable highlighting industry safety initiatives that have contributed to safer trucks and automobiles and how motorists and truck drivers might do a better job of safely sharing the road. The round table will be moderated by Steve Sturgess, Editor of RoadStar
magazine and Senior Editor of Heavy Duty Trucking
. Sturgess also happens to be a CDL holder and accident-free truck driver for 20 years.
Panel participants include two-time National Truck Driving Champion Marty Lawson of Harley-Davidson, and ATA America's Road Team truck drivers Marty and Lisa Fortun of Schneider National, Darren Beard from Con-Way Central, and Don Nehring, a driver for FedEx Ground. Also on the panel are trucking industry safety experts Scot Bishop, Director of Safety for Viking Freight, and Cam Bower and Russ Green of ExxonMobil. NASCAR Winston Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield, driver of the #12 Mobil Ford, may also participate if his NASCAR practice schedule allows.
The contestants begin their skill tests, personal interviews and pre-trip competition on Thursday, August 10, when they start working their rigs through a still-secret skills course featuring tough driving, stopping, parking, and backing-up challenges. The championship finals begin Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Awards will be issued in nine truck categories: straight truck, 3-axle, 4-axle, 5-axle, tank truck, flatbed, 5-axle sleeper, twins, and auto transporter, and the National Truck Driving Champion will be announced later at an evening banquet.