Orlando, August 05, 2011
Nineteen UPS and UPS Freight state champions will test their skills here next week as the nation's top professional drivers vie for top honors at the National Truck Driving and Step Van Championships.
This year's UPS team includes a combination of veterans and newcomers to the national stage. Collectively, they have accumulated 56 state titles while logging nearly 400 years of accident-free driving.
"For UPS and all competitors, the Nationals represent a showcase of our industry's top professional drivers," said Phil Warren, UPS Freight vice president of community affairs. "Our seven first-time state champions give proof that the safety practices and skills that have been a hallmark of UPS drivers for more than a century are continuing to be passed on to this next generation of company drivers."
The squad is led by UPS Freight veterans Clarence Jenkins of Charleston, W.Va., who is coming off his record 15th state championship and will be driving in the Sleeper division, and Ty Bentley of Greensboro, N.C., who is making his seventh appearance in the Nationals and will be competing in the Tanker division.
UPS driver David Sharp, one of three UPS champions from Nevada, will be making his fourth consecutive trip to the Nationals.
Both the state and national competitions include difficult driving skills, maneuvering tests, equipment inspections and exams covering safety policies and regulations. More than 400 drivers from across the nation will compete in Orlando in nine equipment classes during the competition from Aug. 9-to-13.
Among seven drivers who won their first state championships this year and will be officially classified as "rookies" at the Nationals is UPS driver Tim Bailey Jr., who captured the West Virginia Step Van Championship earlier this summer. Tim becomes the third-generation Bailey to appear in the championships following his grandfather, who won 10 state titles, and his father, who is making his fifth appearance in the Nationals this year in another division for a rival trucking firm.
Joining as first-time state winners in 2011 are UPS drivers Greg Detering from Maine; Larry Hall from Maryland, and Kari Paulson and Alan St. Clair from Illinois. Also newcomers to the Nationals from UPS Freight are Robert Foskey from Florida and Don Gaston out of Kentucky.
The company team includes UPS feeder driver John Foran from Maine, a four-time state champion and former America Transportation Association industry spokesman as a member of the ATA's America's Road Team, and Roger Nicholson from UPS Freight, the Georgia 3-Axle champion and a current ATA America Road Team member.
Rounding out the UPS contingent are UPS Freight's Todd Hester from Georgia; Ron Raney from Iowa; Missouri's Jack Hannah; Tim Sproles from Tennessee, and Nevada's Vernon Smith, along with UPS feeder drivers John Evans from Nevada and Bill Raff from Illinois.
UPS Freight, one of the largest less-than-truckload carriers in the United States and a leading truckload service provider, serves customers throughout North America, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.