Gary Harms, a Walmart Transportation professional truck driver based in Olathe KS, was named the 2013 Bendix National Truck Driving Championships grand champion.
His driving skills and knowledge of transportation and truck safety information topped those of 422 other professional truckdrivers from across the United States in the National Truck Driving Championships, held in Salt Lake City UT. The 76th annual “Super Bowl of Safety” is sponsored by the American Trucking Associations.
En route to his title, Harms has logged 30 years as a driver, with more than 1.7 million miles behind the wheel. He began competing in his state truck driving championships in 2007, and this is his second trip to the National Truck Driving Championships. In 2011, he placed first in four-axle class.
The contestants were the state champions in nine truck types from all 50 states. Collectively, they have driven 605,654,659 accident-free miles.
In their respective classes, drivers tested their expertise in the driving skills they use daily. The competition course inside the Salt Palace Convention Center challenged their knowledge of safety, equipment, and the industry. The skills course tested drivers’ ability to judge distances; maneuver tight spaces; and reverse, park, and position their vehicle exactly over scales, before barriers, or around curves.
Harms also won the individual Five-Axle Sleeper driving competition. Joining him as champions were:
•Three-Axle—Roland Buldoc, Fedex Express, East Longmeadow MA
•Four-Axle—Ralph Garcia, ABF Freight System Inc, Rio Rancho NM
•Five-Axle—George Johnson, UPS Freight, Aylett VA
•Straight Truck—James Carver, Owings MD
•Twins—Timothy Melody, ABF Freight System Inc, Fruitland ID
•Step Van—Justin Kingsley, FedEx Ground, Tulsa OK
•Flatbed Class—Richard Wayne Crowder, FedEx Freight, Lanesville IN
•Tank Truck—Ina Daly, Con-way Freight, Avondale AZ
Harms succeeds Don Logan, a professional truck driver with FedEx Freight from Eskridge KS, as the national grand champion.
Bruce Renton, a driver for Holland from Grand Rapids, Mich., was named 2013 Rookie of the Year after competing in the Straight Truck division. He has 13 years behind the wheel and more than 900,000 accident-free miles.
The Kansas state truck driving championship team won honors as the highest scoring state team, with Wisconsin coming in second, followed by Vermont.