Seven FedEx Drivers Earn Honors at National Truck Driving Championships


Three drivers representing FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) operating companies were crowned National Champions at the 2008 National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC) in Houston Aug. 20-23.

  • John Smith Jr., a contractor for FedEx Ground based in Tupelo, Miss., won the top spot in the Tank Truck class for his second national title in two years. Smith was also the 2007 National Flatbed Co-Champion. He has driven more than 1.6 million miles during his 16-year career without ever having had an accident.
  • Ryan Kelley, a driver for FedEx Freight in Mason City, Iowa, for the past 11 years, captured the National Champion title in the 4-Axle class. Kelley, who finished second in the 3-Axle class at the 2006 NTDC, has accumulated nearly 500,000 safe-driving miles during his professional driving career.
  • Chris Mahony, a FedEx Freight driver domiciled in Salt Lake City, won the national crown in the Twins class after finishing second in this category in 2002. The Utah Driver of the Month in November 2007, Mahony has been a professional driver for 22 years and has safely driven more than 800,000 miles.

Three other FedEx drivers placed among the top finishers in their respective truck classes:

  • Dan Shamrell, the 2006 National Champion in the 3-Axle class, finished second in the same category this year. A driver for FedEx Freight based in Portland, Ore., Shamrell has accumulated more than 525,000 accident-free miles during his 22-year driving career.
  • Erik Lilleberg, a driver for FedEx Ground contractor JRM Enterprises Inc. in Billings, Mont., took third place in the Twins class. Lilleberg has racked up more than 900,000 miles during his nine-year driving career and has never had an accident.
  • John Willinger, a FedEx Freight driver domiciled in Louisville, Ky., finished third in the 5-Axle class. He also placed second in the 4-Axle class at the 2006 NTDC. Willinger has accumulated more than 700,000 safe-driving miles during his 20-year career.

In addition, Rob Romando , a driver for FedEx National LTL based in Phoenix, was named National Rookie of the Year for achieving the highest average score among all first-year competitors at the event. He is an 18-year career driver with nearly 700,000 safe-driving miles to his credit.

“Collectively, FedEx drivers and contractors around the world are focused on safely sharing the roads with other motorists each and every day,” said Frederick W. Smith, chairman, president and chief executive officer, FedEx Corp. “The performance of our 70 drivers who earned the right to compete at the NTDC and our top finishers in particular reaffirms this fundamental commitment to safety and professionalism.”

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) sponsors the annual National Truck Driving Championships, known as the “Super Bowl of Safety,” to recognize industry leadership in safety and to promote professionalism among truck drivers. Seventy professional drivers from 36 states representing FedEx Freight, FedEx Ground, FedEx Express, FedEx National LTL and FedEx Custom Critical qualified to compete 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 or her driving skills and knowledge of the industry through a series of tests, including a written exam, personal interview, vehicle pre-trip inspection and a difficult driving-skills challenge.

In addition, FedEx had 10 state champions in the Step Van class, which was tested as an additional competition category in select states this year.