Release Date: 19 August 2006
Release ID: 356
Six drivers representing FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) operating companies placed among the top finishers at the 2006 National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC) in New Orleans Aug. 15-19. The six driving professionals, who are all drivers for FedEx Freight, competed among nearly 400 drivers for national titles in eight different classes of vehicles. Each driver earned the right to compete in the NTDC by capturing first-place honors in state-level truck driving championships.
Dan Shamrell, based in Portland, Ore., was crowned national champion in the 3-Axle class. This marks the seventh time that Shamrell has competed at the NTDC, finishing among the top-three finishers three previous times before capturing his first national title. He also earned this year's Vehicle Condition Award for earning the highest score in the Pre-Trip Inspection competition. During his 20-year career with FedEx Freight, Shamrell has accumulated nearly 500,000 miles without an accident.
Five other FedEx drivers finished among the top three in their respective classes: -- Mark Dietsche, the 2003 National Grand Champion, placed second in the Straight Truck class. The 2006 Oregon State Grand Champion, Dietsche is based in Salem, Ore. -- Mason City, Iowa-based Ryan Kelley, the Iowa State Grand Champion for the third straight year, finished second in the 3-Axle class. -- John Willinger, domiciled in Louisville, Ky., locked up second place in the 4-Axle class. He has won three Kentucky state truck driving titles in the past five years. -- Andy Bryant earned third place in the Straight Truck class in his first year of competing at the national event. He is based in Kingsport, Tenn. -- Birmingham, Ala.-based Darrell Kimbrell, the 2005 National Champion in the Twins class, finished third in the same class this year.
In addition, Tim Cohen, a contractor's driver for FedEx Ground based in Hartford, Conn., was named 2006 NTDC Rookie of the Year for achieving the highest average score among the 40 first-year competitors at the event.
"FedEx has consistently fielded a championship-caliber team of drivers, couriers and contractors -- not just at the NTDC but at every facility we operate throughout the world," said Frederick W. Smith, chairman, president and chief executive officer, FedEx Corp. "The performance of all of our NTDC competitors exemplifies our commitment to raise the bar on professionalism and highway safety in the trucking industry."
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) sponsors the annual championships, known as the "Super Bowl of Safety," to recognize industry leadership in safety and to promote professionalism among truck drivers. A record 76 professional drivers from 40 states representing FedEx Freight, FedEx Ground, FedEx Express and FedEx Custom Critical competed at the national event by winning their respective state's competition and driving accident-free for at least one year. Each driver was required to demonstrate his driving skills and knowledge of the industry through a series of tests, including written and oral examinations, a vehicle pre-trip inspection test and a driving-skills test.
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