Each year in mid-August in the United States, drivers from every state gather to test their mettle, to find out who is the best of the best at the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) annual National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC). Canada has its NTDC competition in early- to mid-September.
Drivers qualify for the NTDC by winning their state or province championships in their classes. To qualify for competition, drivers must be accident-free for the entire year before the competition and must continue to be accident-free through the national championships.
U.S. NTDC History and Information
The first U.S. NTDC was in 1937 and has occurred every year since, except during World War II. YRC Freight drivers have participated in all the competitions, although in some years, drivers entered on their own.
Most of the 50 states and Canadian provinces have one- to two-day competitions, although some states, such as Vermont and Maine, combine their competitions at one site. The state or province champions in each competition class go to nationals. Drivers may choose in which class they want to enter; they don’t have to drive the same vehicle class as they do in their jobs.
Judges score tasks on the basis of specific criteria and may take deductions for incorrect responses or actions. When competition in all classes is completed, judges tally the points and name a champion and second- and third-place winners for each class. The champions in each class then compete for the top honor: National Grand Champion. At the end of the competition, the ATA honors all national winners and announces the new National Grand Champion at an awards banquet.
The competition consists of a series of tasks with each task carrying a point value:
- Driving/skills test: 300 points
- Written examination: 80 points
- Pre-trip inspection: 100 points
U.S. competition has nine classes:
- Straight Truck
- Five-Axle Sleeper Berth
- Step Van
National Champions: A Proud Heritage
We are proud to have had great success at the NTDC. We are the only corporation in the history of the event to have had a three-time Grand Champion. Since 1990, six of our drivers have been named Grand Champion, and in the past seven years, three YRC Freight drivers have been awarded the Neil Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award.
YRC Freight Canada and U.S. NTDC National Champions
Scott Stroup, Omaha, Neb., pickup and delivery (P&D) driver, was one of 24 YRC Freight drivers to qualify for nationals and had the performance of his life with a first-place finish in the four-axle class. Scott, a 33-year veteran of the trucking industry, including 22 years with YRC Freight, was driving in his sixth national competition. Also representing YRC Freight with distinction was Kevin Miskiewicz, Lansdale, Pa., P&D driver, who finished third in the four-axle class. It was Kevin’s highest finish in three appearances at nationals.
Richard Seigle of Chicago had the best finish among all YRC Freight drivers with a fourth-place ranking in the four-axle class. Alongside Richard, four other YRC Freight drivers logged top-10 finishes. Jude Hurst, Kentucky state tanker champion, finished sixth; Michael West of West Virginia was seventh in the flatbed class; Dave Murphy, Boise, Idaho, tied for ninth in five-axle; and Wade Wagemann, Watertown, S.D., P&D driver was 10th in twins.
Team YRCW drew applause on a number of fronts at the 2010 U.S. National Truck Driving Championships, including a prestigious first-place showing for YRC Freight Driver Bruce Quaal in the Sleeper class. A YRC Freight linehaul driver from Minnesota, Bruce is the consummate professional and has received the Million-Mile Safe-Driver Award from YRC Worldwide.
Also in the four-Axle class, Rich Seigle of YRC Freight took the third-place award. Rich is a shuttle driver in Illinois and has celebrated 26 years of accident-free driving.
In addition, YRC Freight’s Andy Smith was a member of the Oregon state truck driving champion team, which received the 2010 NTDC State Team trophy. Andy was 2009 state Sleeper Champion and State Champion in the Tanker category for 2010.
YRC Freight drivers Jesse Ballard, Portland, Ore., and Stacy Sansom, Shreveport, La., logged the highest finishes for YRC Worldwide at the annual industry competition with third place in the five-axle and twin-trailers classes, respectively.
Julius Swecera, YRC Reimer driver account specialist in Vancouver, B.C., was named National Champion in the step van class at the Sept. 13–14 Canadian National Truck Driving Championships in Ottawa, Ontario. Darren Tychkowsky, YRC Reimer driver account specialist in Edmonton, Alberta, was named National Champion in the single/single class.
Vic Wheeler, a YRC Freight linehaul driver, was named National Champion in the three-axle class at the 2008 U.S. National Truck Driving Championships in Houston.
Alphonso Lewis, a driver account specialist of Montgomery, Ala., was named National Grand Champion at the 2007 National Truck Driving Championships in Minneapolis. The National Grand Champion title is awarded to the National Champion who has exhibited the highest skills and professionalism among the 400 drivers competing at the event. Lewis was the National Champion in the four-axle class and is a 17-year YRC Freight employee with an accident- and injury-free career.
YRC Reimer Driver Larry Radons was crowned National Grand Champion, the highest honor, at the 2007 National Professional Truck Driving Championships in Regina, Saskatchewan. He was also National Champion in the straight truck class. Harvey Gording, YRC Reimer city driver, was National Champion in the single-tandem class.