Last year, GATS entertained and educated 42,739 attendees.
Bigger Than Ever
In its seventh year, the Great American Trucking Show offers even more exhibits, entertainment, giveaways, education and competition.
The truck show will be held in the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas on August 25-27, a return to the Thursday-through-Saturday format. During the event-filled show, the 2005 GATS will feature two free concerts by country artists, business seminars and the annual Pride and Polish truck beauty contest. Free on-site truck parking is available on the 30-acre parking lot outside of the center.
Last year, 42,739 people attended GATS, an increase of 7 percent over 2003. The show floor grew by 30 percent in 2004, with a total of 417 exhibitors. Show planners anticipate an even bigger crowd this year.
Country singer Terri Clark will headline Mobil Delvac’s free 80th Anniversary Celebration at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 26. Clark first hit the country charts in 1995 and gained fame with songs like “Better Things to Do,” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” and “Girls Lie Too.”
Volvo Trucks will bring Sammy Kershaw to the convention center for a free concert Aug. 27. Since his debut in the early ’90s, Kershaw has enjoyed a chain of major hit records and sell-out touring schedules. Kershaw is known for songs like “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful,” “I Can’t Reach Her Anymore,” and “National Working Woman’s Holiday.”
Tickets for the concerts will be distributed to registered attendees the morning of each performance on a first-come, first-served basis.
Overdrive magazine’s free Partners in Business seminar will be held Aug. 26 from 1-3 p.m. American Truck Business Services of Denver, Colo., the nation’s largest owner-operator financial services firm, will present the educational seminar. In addition to handling income taxes for independent contractors, ATBS also provides consulting on all areas of operation, using its extensive database of thousands of owner-operator records. The seminar is sponsored by Freightliner, Freightliner’s SelecTrucks, and DaimlerChrysler Services Truck Finance.
The American Trucking Associations’ Highway Watch certification program representatives will also be on hand at the show to provide anti-terrorism and safety training to transportation professionals every hour on the hour when the exhibit floor is open.
Highway Watch is a national safety and security program that utilizes the skills, experience, and “road smarts” of America’s transportation workers to help prevent terrorists from using large vehicles or hazardous cargoes as weapons and to protect America’s critical highway transportation infrastructure. The program is administered by ATA under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Competing trucks will shine inside the convention center in Overdrive’s annual Pride and Polish competition. Last year more than 60 trucks entered the contest.
The trucks will be judged in a variety of categories, and trucks placing first, second and third will win cash and/or prizes. Freightliner, Peterbilt, Alcoa, Interstate Scales, United Pacific, Panelite and Bridgestone Firestone will donate prizes.
Besides the Best of Show Bobtail, Best of Show Combination, Charities Choice and Participants Choice categories, Bridgestone Firestone will sponsor the most technologically advanced truck category. Peterbilt has a special Peterbilt-only award category.
The Second Annual Trucking Challenge of the Genders will be held in the Reunion Arena parking lot next to the Dallas Convention Center at the conclusion of the Great American Trucking Show.
The Challenge seeks to raise money for Special Olympics athletes and to settle the age old question, “Who drives better, men or women?” Last year, the Truck Challenge of the Genders raised more than $11,000.
This contest started as a friendly rivalry on Steve Sommers’ trucking radio show, when Ed Hutchison of Edmond, Okla., was challenged by Ingrid Bell of Zionville, N.C., after he offered a negative opinion of female truck drivers.
Bell, a 24-year trucking veteran, won the first challenge, but Hutchison, who has been in the trucking game for 26 years, is determined to win it for the men this year.
In the rematch, Bell and Hutchison will maneuver their rigs through a maze of obstacles designed to duplicate everyday situations in the life of a professional trucker. A People’s Choice Award also will be presented to the driver who raises the most votes in the form of donations to Special Olympics.
Throughout GATS, attendees can stop by the Special Olympics booth and buy as many $1 votes for the driver of their choice. Special Olympics T-shirts also will be on sale.
BP Lubricants will sponsor the Castrol Tection Extra Big Honkin’ Truck Makeover.
Entrants submitted a vehicle photo and an essay of 50 words or less describing why the registrant should be a “Big Honkin’ Truck Makeover” contest winner. The grand prize is an internal, external and communication truck makeover valued at $50,000 for any Class 3-8 vehicle.
First prize is a $1,000 trip for two to the 2005 ACDelco National Hot Rod Association Nationals in Las Vegas. Second prize is a portable DVD player and a selection of DVDs valued at $500.
A panel of judges will determine the three finalists. They will base their decision on 50 percent originality and creativity, 25 percent relevance of essay to theme and 25 percent photographic appeal.
GATS attendees will decide the grand prizewinner by voting at the Castrol Tection Extra booth Aug. 25-26. The winner will be announced Aug. 27.
Freightliner will provide meals vouchers for all entrants.
Truckers News again will give away $1,000 each day of the show. Attendees can pick up an entry card at the Mardi Gras booth in the main lobby or participating exhibitors’ booths. Then they collect beads from booths around the show before returning the entry card to the booth in time for the daily drawing.
The Midnight Trucking Network’s booth in the main lobby will offer autographs from rising country music star Shelly Fairchild and a chance to register to win $1,000.
At the Freightliner booth, attendees can register for a chance to watch a pre-season Dallas Cowboys football game from a luxury skybox on Aug. 27. The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders will be signing photographs at the booth.
Two more tickets to the Saturday game are up for grabs, courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys. Stop by the Show Information Booth to enter. You must be present for the drawing at 3 p.m. on Aug. 26 to win.
Bridgestone Tire Co. and Firestone Tire Co. will give away a set of steer tires each day of the show. Register at the Bridgestone/Firestone booth.
For more information, or to register for the show, call (800) 349-4287 or visit this site.
Inside and Out
In its third year, the Freightliner Big Rig Redo steps up to a new level.
Before and during the Great American Trucking Show, Indiana Custom Trucks will work with two teams of design students from Texas Christian University to redesign two new Freightliner trucks inside and out.
ICT will provide a custom exterior paint makeover, and the design students will use $500 to redesign the interiors. ICT will do all the installation work and create the themes inside the trucks that the students design. GATS vendors will supply bonus bells and whistles.
The themes are: Classic Cars/Hot Rods and Hunting/Fishing. Both interior and exterior will reflect the theme, and the student teams will compete for a $1,000 scholarship for the truck voted the favorite of the two.
Most of the renovation work will be done prior to the show, but the students will be putting finishing touches on the truck during the show. Show attendees will be able to vote for the best truck and walk through the floor model – a “before” version of both trucks.
The renovated Freightliner trucks will be available for sale during the show.
Showtime in Dallas
SCHEDULE: From noon until 6p.m., Thursday, Aug. 25, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 26, and 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Dallas Convention Center.
ADMISSION: Free online registration at
www.gatsonline.com, or $10 at the door.
PARKING: Free big rig parking on-site at the Dallas
LODGING: Find a place to stay at this site.
Only working trucks get the chance to be Shell Rotella T Super rigs
Nick Francisco, a Homer, Mich., trucker who hauls furniture trim, hears a lot of praise for his truck everywhere he takes it – even though it’s an old cabover.
“I get a lot of compliments because it’s a cabover,” Francisco says. “You just don’t see many anymore, especially ones that look good.”
The green 1989 Kenworth COE, one of more than 70 entered in the competition, placed fifth in the classic truck category at the 2005 Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck beauty show, held in June at the 75 Chrome Shop in Wildwood, Fla.
But the truck that garnered the most attention and accolades belonged to Kim and Tom Turner, and it won the top prize as well as taking home the gold for best truck, best interior and best theme. And their truck will be featured in the 2006 SuperRigs calendar.
Last December the Turners finally found their dream truck – a 1995 Peterbilt 379 with an oversized sleeper. So naturally, they gave it a name worthy of dreaming: El Dorado.
“El Dorado was the lost city of gold and jewels and gems,” says Tom. “I found my El Dorado.”
El Dorado and the Turners braved Tropical Storm Arlene for the three-day show, which featured lots of chrome, paint and sparkle, despite storm clouds. Experienced show truckers as well as newcomers showed off their rigs.
Linda and Rick Lindeman of Racine, Wis., brought their 2005 Peterbilt 379, “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” and its appropriate hurricane theme to the contest. With five trucks, the couple doesn’t have a lot of time to polish their chrome. “It takes a lot of time to do shows,” Linda says. “This is the first show we’ve done with this truck.”
The Lindemans picked the perfect show; Shell Rotella SuperRigs is open only to working trucks, and entrants must put at least 80,000 miles a year on their rigs. Entrants come for the show and for a chance to be in the calendar. Russ and Debbie Brown, veterans of the show circuit, had their 1999 Freightliner Classic and its black and orange Harley-Davidson theme photographed for the calendar – at a custom motorcycle shop in Daytona Beach. The couple’s seventh truck will be the third they’ve had on a Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar.
The couple say they work together when they start designing a truck. Russ is in charge of the outside and Debbie the inside. “She has good color coordination,” Russ says.
The winners split $10,000 in cash and prizes; 13 trucks were chosen for the calendar. Winners at the show, which is in its 23rd year, included:
Best of Show Winner
Tom and Kim Turner – 1995 Peterbilt 379
Best of Show 1st Runner-up
Curtis Christians – 2005 Peterbilt 379
Best of Show 2nd Runner-up
Donald and Susan Pardue – 2002 Peterbilt 379
1st Place – Paul Feigelson – 2003 Peterbilt
2nd Place – Charlie Bowen – 2003 Peterbilt 379
3rd Place – Richie Acosta – 2005 Peterbilt 379
4th Place – Mike Stephenson – 2004 Peterbilt
5th Place – Jimmy Jeffers – 2001 Peterbilt 379
1st Place – Clint Dicks – 2000 Peterbilt
2nd Place – Justin Ippolito – 2000 Peterbilt 379
3rd Place – Mike Penrod – 2002 Freightliner Classic
4th Place – James and Donna Gallagher – 2005 Peterbilt 379
5th Place – Bill Long – 2003 Peterbilt 379
1st Place – Neal Holsomback – 1988 Peterbilt 379
2nd Place – Derek Montgomery – 1986 Peterbilt 359
3rd Place – Bob and Joyce Thrift – 1973 Peterbilt 288 TA
4th Place – Mike Auker – 1985 Peterbilt 359
5th Place – Nick Francisco – 1989 Kenworth K-100 Cabover
Jerry and Allan Asbury – 1999 Kenworth W900L
Tom and Kim Turner – 1995 Peterbilt 379
Derek Montgomery – 1986 Peterbilt 359
Mike Penrod – 2002 Freightliner Classic
Tom and Kim Turner – 1995 Peterbilt 379
People’s Choice Award
Bill Long – 2003 Peterbilt 379
Roadranger Introduces New Drive Systems
Roadranger, the joint marketing arm for Dana Corp. and Eaton Corp., recently introduced Class 7 and Class 8 truck components designed to operate more efficiently.
A conceptual drive-axle system and heavy-duty steer axle and hub systems from Dana, and automatic transmissions from Eaton were featured in June at Roadranger’s press conference in Kalamazoo, Mich.
The conceptual drive axle system eliminates drive gears from the rearmost axle on a Class 8 truck. Fewer moving parts and less lubrication simplify the drive axle system, decreasing weight and maintenance costs.
The forward axle – Dana Spicer’s S21-170DE drive – provides hauling power and traction. For extra traction the driver engages the axle’s differential lock. This deflates the air bags on the rear axle – Dana Spicer’s R21BS reconfigurable tag – so during low speeds all weight is transferred to the forward axle, which delivers pulling power to left and right wheels.
“This 6×2 drive gives the same traction or perhaps even better traction than the traditional 6×4 tandem axle,” says Dana’s Leo Wenstrup. Pulling up to 160,000 pounds, the 6×2 drive weighs 200 pounds less than a 6×4 system.
Eliminating the rear differential and inter-axle drive shaft means less downtime, fewer repairs and a truck more suitable for less experienced drivers who often misuse drive axle systems in low-traction situations.
Eaton’s UltraShift Line-Haul Performance 14-speed automatic transmission also addresses driver shortage problems by eliminating manual shifting concerns. The two-pedal LHP is operated the same as a car’s automatic transmission.
“Although the LHP is aimed at the high-performance segment of the market, it offers improved driver comfort and satisfaction, simplified driver recruitment, reduced training and maintenance costs and increased uptime,” says Eaton’s Scot Steurer.
During test drives behind a 425-hp Caterpillar C-15, the LHP started 65,000 pounds from a dead stop on a 10 percent grade with no roll back. During maximum acceleration, the LHP took the same rig from zero to 60 mph with no slippage or hesitation between shifts. The transmission can handle up to 1,750 pounds-feet of torque and haul up to 110,000 pounds. It allows for fully automatic or clutchless manual operation, and the LHP’s “low” setting allows early downshifts for maximum engine braking and up shifts only at maximum engine RPM, smoothing even the toughest hills for inexperienced drivers who are fully loaded.
Dana Spicer’s D-2000F and D-2200F steer axles are compatible with disc or drum brakes, offer a 5-inch drop option and come rated to 22,800 pounds. “The features can add more productivity for fleets,” says Dana’s Mark Davis.
The 5-inch drop allows for a lower chassis, which makes entering and exiting that cab easier. The heavy-duty axle handles rougher treatment sometimes associated with new drivers. The steering kingpin assembly is more durable and reliable and maintains camber alignment longer.
The D-2000F has Dana’s patented “power rib,” which allows for weight savings and added strength. Patented seal and boot designs decrease contamination and increase lube retention for lower maintenance and longer life.
Truckers News Wins Four Editorial Awards
Truckers News received four editorial honors in this year’s American Society of Business Publication Editors’ Awards of Excellence competition.
The magazine won a bronze national award in the How-to-Article category for “Blood Work for Your Engine. The story was written by Equipment Editor John Baxter, designed by Art Director Richard Street and edited by Editor Randy Grider, Executive Editor John Latta and Managing Editor Kristin Walters.
The magazine was judged against other trade magazines with a circulation of greater than 80,000.
The magazine also won three awards in the Midwest-South region:
“Our editorial staff continues to be recognized at the highest levels in business and trade fields,” says Publisher Robert Lake. “It’s a tribute to their dedication to the readers and the trucking industry as a whole.”
Sister publications CCJ and Overdrive also received ASBPE awards.
Find Biodiesel Locations Online
The trade association for the biodiesel industry offers a nationwide map of locations where you can fuel up with biodiesel.
The National Biodiesel Board provides a list of hundreds of locations under “Buying Biodiesel” on its website at www.biodiesel.org or by contacting the NBB at (800) 841-5849.
Biodiesel can be used as a pure fuel or blended with petroleum in any percentage. It is produced from fat or oil, such as soybean oil, through a refinery process called transesterification.
Annual U.S. production of the fuel has increased from 500,000 gallons in 1999 to 30 million gallons in 2004, with 500 U.S. commercial and government fleets currently using biodiesel. Sales have been boosted in part by a biodiesel tax incentive that became effective Jan. 1.
Music legend Willie Nelson has been promoting the fuel under the name BioWillie and in early June, announced Greer, S.C., as his latest location to sell the product.
Biodiesel proponents say the fuel offers environmental and engine benefits and can be operated in any diesel engine with little or no modification.
However, the board does warn that Biodiesel has a solvent effect and can release deposits accumulated on tank walls and pipes from previous diesel storage. This release can initially clog filters and precautions should be taken.
Texas Lifts Idling Restrictions While Adding Tarp Bill
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed into law a bill to allow idling during rest periods and another bill that makes transporting loose material, aggregates, or refuse untarped a fineable offense. Both bills go into effect Sept. 1.
The idling bill, supported by the Texas Motor Transportation Association, allows truckers to idle to power a heater or air conditioner when complying with hours-of-service mandated rest periods. The new law supersedes the Texas Environmental Quality commission’s regulation that would have allowed cities to limit idling to five minutes.
However, the new legislation prohibits drivers, even while using the vehicle’s sleeper berth, to idle in a school zone or within 1,000 feet of a public school during school hours. It sets a maximum fine of $500 for violations. The law expires September 2007, when stricter emission standards begin.
The Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission repealed a rule that affected the eight-county Houston/Galveston region. That rule prohibited trucks weighing more than 14,000 pounds from idling more than five minutes April 1 to Oct. 31 each year.
The other bill requires tarps for commercial hauling of sand, gravel, rock or refuse and attaches a $25 to $500 fine for violators.
International Truck Tour Kicks Off
“Taking It to the Streets,” a truck tour hosted by International Truck and Engine Company, kicked off in June. The tour encompassed eight cities in the United States and Canada.
The tour is showcasing 20 International trucks, including the International CXT, the world’s largest production pick-up truck. The tour will have an urban focus, featuring trucks like the International 4000 Series, which are often seen in cities delivering fish, auto parts, beverages and other such items. There will also be dump trucks, other work trucks and the International 8000 Series heavy truck favored for regional hauls. International will also introduce a new line of cab forward trucks called the International CF Series.
All of the trucks will be available for test drives at the show for visitors with a valid driver’s license.
There will be other entertaining events like ride-and-drive courses, remote-control courses, show-only financing and warranty specials, IRWIN tools skills competitions and sweepstakes to win an International CF Series truck and a NASCAR race package to meet NASCAR driver Kurt Busch.
As an added bonus, International will be demonstrating its Aware Vehicle Intelligence, a telematics system that enables the fleet manager to monitor truck routes, performance, maintenance, security and fuel.
Upcoming tour locations include: Washington, D.C., on Aug. 10-11 at the FedEx Field; Atlanta on Aug. 31 and Sep. 1 at Georgia International Convention Center; San Francisco on Sep. 21-22 at SBC Ballpark; Los Angeles on Oct. 5-6 at the Orange County Fair and Exposition Center; and Dallas on Oct. 19-20 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Every day of the show will run from 9a.m to 7p.m. Although admission is free, all visitors must register to attend. To register for “Taking It to the Streets” or for more information about the tour, visit www.internationaltrucktour.com or call the International Event Help Line at (866) 483-2001. The “Taking It to the Streets” Tour is supported by Irwin Industrial Tools, Road Ranger, Allison, Michelin, CAT and Cummins.
Senators Introduce ’07 Engine Incentive Bill
A U.S. Senate bill would give a 5 percent tax credit to buyers of 2007 trucks with cleaner diesel engines.
U.S. Sens. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., and Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., introduced SB 1240, which would allow an investment tax credit equal to 5 percent of the cost of large truck diesel engines compliant with 2007 federal environmental standards.
The credit would apply to any purchases during calendar year 2007. The credit would be part of the general business credit that would be carried over to the next taxable year.
The federal government can require OEMs to produce engines that comply with higher standards but “cannot mandate the purchase of these clean diesel trucks,” Smith said.
“Customers always have the option of holding on to older trucks longer, rebuilding older engines, leasing older trucks, or turning to the used truck market,” Smith said. “They can also simply buy more trucks today, with older design components and without the cleanest technology, and defer the purchase of cleaner trucks.”
The bill has been sent to the Senate Finance Committee, the typical first stop for Senate tax bills.
Photographing Work Zone Speeders
Illinois state troopers with vans equipped to photograph speeders in construction and maintenance zones will begin a new crackdown. The state passed a law last year that fines first-time work zone speeders $375. Second-time offenders are subject to a $1,000 fine and a 90-day loss of driver’s license. Drivers who hit a worker can receive a $10,000 maximum fine and 14 years in prison. Tickets will be issued by mail to vehicle owners whose speeding is determined by camera.
Tonnage Volumes Up Slightly
The American Trucking Associations’ primary industry indicator rose in May as tonnage volumes increased slightly because of modest economic growth. ATA’s advanced seasonally adjusted for-hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.7 percent in May to 115.1, following a 0.9 percent drop in April. The index is based on 100 in 2000, so that May’s reading means tonnage is up 15.1 percent since 2000. Year-to-date, the tonnage index was 3.2 percent higher than the same period in 2004.
Fuel Prices Continue Upward Climb
The national average retail price of a gallon of diesel rose 2.3 cents, to $2.336, for the week ending June 27, a price increase of almost 64 cents from last year’s national average. The smallest increase was in the Central Atlantic, rising only 1 cent, while the largest increase, 5.2 cents, was in the Rocky Mountain region. The highest average regional diesel price for the week – not counting California, at $2.52 – was $2.48 in New England. The lowest price is $2.29 in both the Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain regions.
New NATSO Member Truckstops
The following truckstops have joined NATSO, a national trade association of travel plaza and truckstop industry: 101 Travel Plaza, Newport, Ark.: American Road Truckstop, Napoleon, Ohio; Davie Travel Center, Davie, Fla.; Jones Travel Mart Inc., Cameron, Mo., Knoxville West TA, Knoxville, Tenn.; Love’s Travel Stop #322, Roscoe, Ill.; Love’s Travel Stop #323, Marion, Ind.; Love’s Travel Stop #326, Orangeburg, S.C.; Minden Truck Stop, Bossier, La; Petro Stopping Center – Kingsland, Kingsland, Ga., and Petro Stopping Center – New Paris, New Paris, Ohio.
Trucker Buddy Activity Book
Trucker Buddy International recently released an activity/coloring book featuring Mike Ryan and his No. 77 Freightliner. The Freightliner-sponsored book, which contains games, puzzles and activities to help children learn about the trucking industry, illustrates Ryan’s race to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs, Colo. The book may be ordered by calling (800) 692-8339, or through www.truckerbuddy.org.
Great Dane Dallas Facility
Great Dane Trailers opened a new location in Dallas. The Dallas branch was opened to meet the increased demand for new and used trailers, and houses a high-tech paint booth and an expanded parts warehouse. The new branch can be found off of I-20 on the Bonnie View Road Exit at 4115 Port Boulevard.
Freightliner Highlights Safety Technology
The Freightliner Group recently showcased developments in heavy-duty truck safety technology at the DaimlerChrysler Innovations Symposium. Freightliner demonstrated advanced systems, including electronic stability control, electronically controlled braking systems, lane guidance systems, lane departure warning, radar collision warning with adaptive cruise control and a side-visibility camera.
Seat Belt Campaign Works
Newly released statistical information show that a national pilot program held on I-95 in Virginia between Petersburg and Fredericksburg increased safety belt usage among truckers by 11.5 percent in less than one month. Before the initiative, a survey found that fewer than 59 percent of truckers regularly wore a seat belt. A post-campaign survey indicated that 70 percent were buckling up.
Volvo Truck Deliveries Up
Deliveries for Volvo Trucks increased 23 percent from January to May 2005, with a total of 44,370 trucks being sold as compared to 36,101 vehicles for the same period in 2004.
During this period, Volvo Trucks delivered 12,892 vehicles to the North American market, an increase of 53 percent compared to last year. In the United States, deliveries were up by 59 percent, giving a total of 11,081 heavy trucks. In Canada, deliveries increased 33 percent, a change of 1,509 vehicles.
PACCAR Leasing Company has announced the opening of a new location in New Orleans, called Southland PacLease. Kenworth of Southern Louisiana, the first PacLease franchise in the market, opened earlier this year in the heart of the largest commercial district in the New Orleans metropolitan area. The new PacLease facility is located on approximately four acres of property, with 36,000 square feet of offices, parts and service, along with 13 service bays.
Ohio Turnpike Wi-Fi Service
Ten Ohio Turnpike service plazas are in the process of offering wireless high-speed Internet service this summer. Service plazas slated for the service include Commodore Perry/Erie Islands, Vermilion Valley/Middle Ridge, Towpath/Great Lakes, Brady’s Leap/Portage, Wyandot and Blue Heron. The SBC Wi-Fi network is supplying the service. An access fee of $7.95 allows unlimited use for a 24-hour period. FreedomLink memberships, starting at $19.95 a month, provide unlimited access to all SBC Wi-Fi hot spots.
New Mack Parts Facility
Mack Trucks, Inc. expanded its customer and dealer support with the addition of a new parts distribution center in Memphis, Tenn. Approximately $550,000 was invested in the Memphis facility, which has a total of 99,800 square feet and is expected to fill more than 250,000 orders for Mack parts annually.