Heritage Transport driver named the nation’s best

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Dennis Shirar, a Heritage Transport professional truck driver based in Indianapolis, was named the 2008 National Truck Driving Grand Champion. Shirar’s driving skills and knowledge of transportation and truck safety information topped those of 375 other professional drivers from all across the United States in the National Truck Driving Championships, held in Houston. The 71st annual “Super Bowl of Safety” is sponsored by the American Trucking Associations.

Shirar has logged 30 accident- and injury-free years as a driver, with more than 3 million miles behind the wheel. Shirar began competing in the National Truck Driving Championships in 1997, when he was named Indiana Rookie of the Year and placed second at Nationals in five-axle sleeper.

The contestants were the state champions in eight truck types from all 50 states. In their respective classes, drivers tested their expertise in the driving skills they use daily. The competition course inside Houston’s George R. Brown 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.

“The National Truck Driving Championships showcase the industry’s commitment to safety,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “I applaud all the competitors for their efforts in making our highways safe, and congratulate Dennis for demonstrating how a dedication to safe driving skills can make you a Grand Champion.”

Shirar – who also won the individual straight truck driving competition – succeeds Alphonso Lewis, a professional truck driver with Roadway, as the National Grand Champion. Joining Shirar as champions in their respective classes:

  • Three-Axle: Victor K. Wheeler – Roadway (Bountiful, Utah)
  • Four-Axle: Ryan R. Kelley – FedEx Freight (Nora Springs, Iowa)
  • Five-Axle: Buner H. Evans – USF Holland (Bremen, Ga.)
  • Five-Axle Sleeper: Karl R. Bohrer – Wal-Mart Transportation (Katy, Texas)
  • Twins: Chris A. Mahony – FedEx Freight (Kearns, Utah)
  • Flatbed: Ben S. Moore Jr. – Wal-Mart Transportation (Americus, Ga.)
  • Tank Truck: John A. Smith Jr. – FedEx Ground (Mooreville, Miss.)
  • Robert Romando, a three-axle driver for FedEx National LTL from Surprise, Ariz., was named 2008 Rookie of the Year. Romando has been a professional truck driver for 18 years and has more than 700,000 miles of accident free driving.

    The Georgia state truck driving championship team won honors as the highest-scoring state team, followed by Indiana and West Virginia.