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Three Portland FedEx drivers prove their expertise in their respective classes.

COURTESY PHOTO: FEDEX - At the National Truck Driving Championships, competitors show off their professional skills in a written exam on the industry as well as an inspection test to find planted defects on a tractor-trailer.At the National Truck Driving Championships, two Portland-area drivers — both of whom are past national champs — made the final five in their driving classes this year, and another finished as the national runner-up.

In total, five FedEx freight drivers from Portland won their respective classes in Oregon's state truck driving championships. After the state championship, these five Oregon winners joined drivers from across the country at the national championships in Indianapolis, from Aug. 16-19.

From Portland, Singh Dhaliwal, Adam Elliot, Kirby Ferber, Lalo Fernandez and Dan Shamrell drove in the championships for FedEx, and were the Oregon state champs in their respective classes.COURTESY PHOTOS: FEDEX - Kirby Ferber and Dan Shamrell at the Chairman's Challenge Celebration and Competition (4C), which is a FedEx safety event that brings all the state champions from FedEx together for an internal competition prior to the National Truck Driving Championships.

The NDTC is the premier trucking competition in the nation promoting industry safety, where competitors demonstrate skills through a written exam on trucking industry knowledge, an inspection test to find planted defects on a tractor-trailer, and finally a skills test drive-off competition among the top truckers.

Two drivers from Portland qualified for the drive-off. Fernandez was the national runner-up in the Tank Truck class and Shamrell made the final five in the four-axle class.

According to FedEx, Fernandez, a member of its elite Aces team, returned to the NTDC for the sixth time after winning the Oregon Tank Truck Title. He has 30 years of professional driving experience, 16 of which are with FedEx Freight based in Portland. Earlier this year, Fernandez was named America's Road Team captain.COURTESY PHOTO: FEDEX - Lalo Fernandez, the national runner-up in the Tank Truck class at the National Truck Driving Championships of 2022.

"Coming in second in my driving class really made it a positive year and that's pretty exciting," Fernandez said. "But, more than that, my wife, Shirley, and I were excited to meet, guide and get to know rookie drivers and their guests."

Shamrell has 36 years of professional driving experience, has more than 1.8 million accident-free miles and is the 2006 National Three-Axle Champ, two-time National Vehicle Condition Award winner in 1997 and 2006, and the 2017 recipient of the Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award. This year was Shamrell's 16th time at the truck driving championship. COURTESY PHOTO: FEDEX - Dan Shamrell has 36 years of professional driving experience, over 1.8 million accident-free miles and is the 2006 National Three-Axle champ, two-time national Vehicle Condition Award winner in 1997 and 2006, and the 2017 recipient of the Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award.

"It is always an emotional high to see so many state champion drivers in the same place," Shamrell said. "It's mind-boggling to think of all the safe miles driven by these champions just to be eligible to participate in their respective state competitions. It's really an honor to be at this level and see where I stack up against the best of the best. It's such an upbeat, positive event. Safety in anything is growing and changing all the time and this competition helps me keep my eyes wide open to see what new things or techniques can make me a stronger, safer driver when I'm back on the road."

The NTDC has been operating since 1937, and FedEx alone sent 158 truck drivers from across the country to compete this year, the company said.

"Each time I have competed I have returned a safer driver with more knowledge of how to do my daily job in the best way possible," Shamrell said.


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