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Pilot Flying J opens new travel centers in Texas, California

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Pilot flying j opens new travel centers in texas, california
The new Midland, Texas, Pilot Travel Center offers 40 truck parking spaces and seven truck fuel lanes. (Courtesy: PILOT FLYING J)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pilot Flying J continues to grow its presence in the Permian Basin with the opening of six new travel centers in West Texas this year.

The company is also opening a new Flying J Travel Center in California.

The new travel centers will provide more than 250 truck parking spaces and offer full amenities to the local communities along these routes. Pilot Flying J’s network of stores in Texas will grow to 92 locations, with more than 20 in the Permian Basin.

“We’re committed to making a better day for people living, working and traveling through Texas and across the nation,” said Ken Parent, president of Pilot Flying J. “We continue to invest in new stores located strategically across the country to bring convenience, quality, great food and amenities to those who are traveling the roadways. By expanding our network in the Permian Basin, we hope to better serve the exponential growth and rising traffic in the region.”

In June, the company is celebrating the grand openings of a Flying J Travel Center in Kermit, Texas, and two Pilot Travel Centers located in Monahans, Texas, and Midland, Texas. The new locations will add approximately 150 jobs and contribute more than $6.4 million in state and local tax revenue as a result of its increased presence in the state. Later this year, Pilot Flying J will open three more locations in Odessa, Midland and Andrews, Texas.

The new travel centers offer area residents, professional drivers and the traveling public everyday conveniences including fresh food, fuel, and a variety of products for quick shopping needs.

Store amenities for the travel center located at 700 East Highway 302 in Kermit, Texas, include:

PJ Fresh, Dunkin’ Express, 81 truck parking spots, eight diesel lanes and 12 gas fueling positions, eight showers, driver’s lounge, CAT scale and Western Union.

For the travel center located at 11501 State Highway 191 in Midland:

PJ Fresh, Dunkin’ Express, 40 truck parking spots, seven diesel lanes and 16 gas fueling positions, five showers, public laundry, CAT scale and Western Union.

For the travel center located at 4840 East I-20 in Monahans, Texas:

Dunkin’ Express, Mama Deluca’s, Subway, 79 truck parking spots, seven diesel lanes and 10 gas fueling positions, five showers, CAT scale and Western Union.

In honor of Pilot Flying J’s history of giving back, the company is donating $15,000 to benefit technology programs at the local school districts in Kermit, Monahans and Midland, Texas.

The California travel center is located at 979 East Paige Avenue in Tulare, California, and will be Pilot Flying J’s 24th location in California, including travel centers and dealers and it is expected to contribute $6.1 million annually in state and local tax revenues.

It will offer the following amenities:

16 gasoline fueling positions, two RV lanes and nine diesel lanes with high-speed pumps for quicker refueling; PJ Fresh pizza and grab-and-go offerings prepared on site daily, including salads, sandwiches, burgers, fruit cups and an array of hot and cold snacks; Pilot’s Best Gourmet Coffees, including bean-to-cup selections and cold brew; Wendy’s; Cinnabon, Western Union and CAT Scale.

In honor of Pilot Flying J’s history of giving back and commitment to fueling life’s journeys into the future, the company is donating $2,500 to benefit the summer meals program at FoodLink Tulare County.

The combined network of more than 750 Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers across North America serves more than 1.6 million customers daily.

To find the nearby locations, visit pilotflyingj.com/store-locator/.

 

 

 

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The Nation

Former NASCAR driver and Talladega’s iconic trucker John Ray dies at 82

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Former nascar driver and talladega superspeedway’s iconic trucker john ray dies at 82
John Ray whose diesel big rig sporting the giant American flag became iconic during the track’s national anthem performances, has died. (Courtesy: Talladega Superspeedway)

TALLADEGA, Ala. —John Ray, whose big rig sporting a giant American flag became iconic during Talladega Superspeedway’s national anthem performances, has died, according to a news release. The former NASCAR driver was 82 years old.

Since 2001, Ray had driven his gold, brown and chrome Peterbilt with a large American flag down the Talladega frontstretch prior to the start of races.

“National anthems at Talladega Superspeedway are the most iconic, and it’s because of our great friend John Ray,” said Speedway President Brian Crichton. “What he brought to our fans can’t be duplicated. He was an incredible, passionate man who supported the track and all of motorsports with everything he had. His spirit will live here forever. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ray family.”

For more than 40 years, Ray was a member of the White Flag Club, a dedicated service group of local businessmen from surrounding communities that assist during race weekends.

In 2001, after the 9/11 terror attacks and the tragic passing of his longtime friend Dale Earnhardt Sr., Ray, along with then Talladega Superspeedway Track Chairman Grant Lynch, looked to boost the morale of a country, and a fan base that had gone through tough times.

“I had a crazy idea to run my rig out on the track with an American flag attached to the back,” said Ray, who lived down the street from the track in Eastaboga, three years ago. “It started off as a tribute to the country and to Dale.

“I never thought it would become the heart-felt moment that it has over the past some-odd years, but I’m glad it has become a tradition that means so much to the fans and the Talladega family. It represents such a sense of pride that we all share together as a nation and as a community. It is my honor and privilege to do it,” added Ray, who eventually gave up the driving duties of his big rig and handed them off to his late friend Roger Haynes, and last year to his son Johnny.

That wasn’t Ray’s first time at the 2.66-mile track. Ray, who owned “John Ray Trucking Company” since the early 70s, actually set the world speed record for a semi-truck and trailer around the mammoth track at 92.083 mph in 1975 — in a powerful Kenworth.

“We were testing brakes for a company out at the track,” Ray said. “One thing led to another — and there I was truck, trailer, and all — making my way around the track, trying to set a speed record. It was something else.”

Ray drove in the NASCAR Cup Series from 1974-1976. He competed in eight races, four at Talladega (where his best career finish was 22nd in 1974), but an accident at Daytona in 1976 ended his driving career. He continued as a car owner and essentially gave one of the sport’s greatest legends one of his first opportunities: 10-time Talladega winner Earnhardt. It would be Earnhardt’s third career start.

To read the full release, visit Talladega Superspeedway’s website.

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The Nation

Dependable and daring truckers recognized for driving excellence by National Carriers

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Dependable and daring truckers recognized for driving excellence by national carriers
Reggie Ely, left, and Ernie Garcia have been chosen by National Carriers Inc. as Drivers of the Month for November and December. (Courtesy: National Carriers)

IRVING, Texas — One is steady as a rock. The other’s a risk-taker, but both are Drivers of the Month for National Carriers, Inc.

The company named Ernie Garcia and Reggie Ely as the award winners for November and December respectively. Each receives a $1,000 bonus and a chance to win a $10,000 Driver of the Year prize at NCI’s annual banquet in Arlington, Texas.

Garcia, hails from Lytle, Texas, and has been trucking for 40 years, the last nine of which have been with NCI. He focuses on delivering freight throughout the Southwest.

“I’ve worked with Ernie for four years, and he always keeps a pleasant attitude toward life and work,” said his driver manager, Barbara Armstrong. “He’s committed to knowing his lanes and providing on-time service to every customer.”

While Garcia keeps steady, his fellow winner, Ely, says, “Give me a challenge!” Joining the Elite Fleet in 2018, he quickly established himself as a can-do driver.

“Reggie does whatever I need him to do. He drives safe, but never shies away from a demanding delivery,” said Mike Holloway, his driver manager. “He even loves running deliveries to New York City!”

“I try to do things that challenge me and make me feel like I’ve accomplished something,” said Ely. “I wanted to be a trucker who would deliver anywhere. I was scared the first couple of times I went into New York, but it got easier and easier. I just had to face my fears.”

Of course, any driver taking on a challenge needs a great team backing him. “I think a driver is only as good as his driver manager,” said Ely. “At my last job, I went through many dispatchers. My driver manager, Mike, knows his job and has been my only dispatcher at NCI, and I’m grateful for him.

“What makes me a successful driver?  Good equipment, good freight, and a team effort. I had no idea I could be treated this great by a trucking company,” concluded Ely.

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The Nation

‘Disruptive’ major freeway project planned to begin in spring 2021 in central Phoenix

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‘disruptive’ major freeway project planned for spring 2021 in central pheonix
Interstate 10 is a travel artery corridor for commuters, shipping freight and access to Sky Harbor Airport and will undergo a major reconstruction, with most of the work on the 11-mile corridor estimated to begin in the spring 2021 and end in the of summer 2024.

PHOENIX — Transportation planners are spreading the word that the start of a multiyear project to rebuild a critical freeway corridor in the heart of the metro area is only about a year off.

The project includes adding traffic lanes and building new bridges on parts of an 11-mile stretch of Interstate 10. That stretch extends northward from the junction with the State Route 202 freeway in Chandler to where I-10 meets Interstate 17 in central Phoenix near Sky Harbor International Airport.

“This is going to be the most disruptive project we’ve had in this region from a transportation perspective,” warned Eric Anderson, executive director of Maricopa Association of Governments.

Construction work for the project is expected to begin in spring 2021 and take about four years to complete, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Primary funding for the $700 million project comes from a half-cent sales tax approved by Maricopa County voters in 2004, ADOT spokesman Tom Herrmann said Friday.

Herrmann said department officials anticipate completing the final environmental assessment and receiving a favorable finding of “no significant impact” within the next 60 days.

The heavily traveled stretch is often jammed mornings and late afternoons with commuters and long-distance travelers, though the recently opened South Mountain Freeway ringing part of metro Phoenix is expected to divert some traffic either heading across the metro area or just passing Phoenix and its sprawling suburbs.

Anderson told Phoenix City Council members recently that the project could save up to 2 million hours of travel time a year, KJZZ-FM reported.

Much of the reconstruction will center around a segment where five bridges will be built in the vicinity of State Route 143, a short north-south freeway. Its alignment east of Sky Harbor.

In the the northern part of the project area, a collector-distribution road system will be built to reduce the number of lane changes on the main portion of I-10 and improve traffic flow, the Arizona Department of Transportation says.

Other work includes expanding interchanges with SR 143 and U.S. 60, another freeway that connects with I-10.

John Bullen, MAG’s transportation program manager, said a dynamic traffic simulation model is being developed to help plan the construction work.

“So based on the real world inputs, we’ll be able to develop ‘what if’ scenarios to understand how construction might impact traffic and what tools really we have at our disposal to be able to mitigate some of those impacts, to make things smoother,” Bullen said.

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