A Springdale step van driver with more than 1 million miles of accident-free driving recently competed at the National Truck Driving Championships in Indianapolis. Chris ‘CJ’ James is a driver for Van Buren-bsed Crossno Carrier Service that provides transportation services to FedEx Ground.
In June, James won the step van division at the Arkansas Trucking Championship in Rogers, hosted by Arkansas Trucking Association. In mid-August, the Fayetteville native competed against other state champions in the step van division at the 85th National Truck Driving and Step Van Driving Championships, hosted by American Trucking Associations.
James attributed the state-level win to what he’d learned in 2019, his rookie year at the Arkansas Trucking Championship.
“I learned the dos and don’ts and what it takes to win at that level,” he said. “It gets the nerves going, so I knew what to expect going into it this year. Fortunately, all the stars aligned.”
He studied for the written test and relied on his driving skills for the course work. He’s been a step van driver for 16 years. He noted the written test was challenging and largely focused on the work of over-the-road drivers as opposed to step van drivers.
James didn’t win at the national level but said he ranked in the top five in the skills course and finished 12th overall.
“It was unreal,” James said. “From day one, FedEx had the red carpet rolled out.
“The competition itself was a blast because you know that it’s the best of the best… To be at a national competition with all the state winners from all 50 states and seeing that this country is full of excellent drivers, it was cool… The days were long, but I’m looking forward to going back next year.”
James recently transitioned to become a driver trainer and more recently a lead, working to train new drivers for Crossno. He’s worked for Crossno for the past six years.