Pittsburgh – Today, American Trucking Associations and ATA’s Safety Management Council kicked off the driving portion of competition at the 82nd annual National Truck Driving Championships and Step Van Driving Championships, held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
Some of the trucking industry’s best drivers – 427 men and women from all across the country – are putting their knowledge of the industry, safe driving ability and vehicle readiness awareness to the test to see who will emerge as the 2019 National Truck Driving Championships Bendix Grand Champion.
“There is a lot of energy and competitive spirit in Pittsburgh this week as we sort through a strong field of competitors to crown a grand champion,” said ATA Chairman Barry Pottle, president of Pottle’s Transportation. “It is a testament to the entire trucking workforce that hundreds of truck drivers were more than willing to put in thousands of hours of driving practice and study in order to compete for the grand champion crown. We can’t wait to see which drivers, companies and states emerge as champions on Saturday night and are thankful for all the effort that has gone into setting up this fun and friendly competition.”
NTDC action began Wednesday when drivers were escorted onto the course for a timed walkthrough in which they saw the driving problems for the first time. Competitors also sat down for a written examination, which is one of the three scored phases of competition. Over the next two days, competitors will take part in a vehicle pre-trip inspection to test the drivers’ ability to detect vehicle malfunctions and a driving skills test where competitors are graded on their ability to operate a truck through a series of obstacles. The first round of competition wraps up on Friday afternoon.
Finalists for the championship round of competition are announced Saturday morning. After the five finalists in each of the eight vehicle classes and one step van class are announced, the finalists will compete on a championship course to determine the nine class national champions and overall 2019 Bendix Grand Champion, who will be announced Saturday night.
Over four days, 427 competitors from all 50 states, including 32 “rookies” competing at any level of truck driving championship for the first time.
The driving competition is the main event, but NTDC attendees can also explore the course-side Exhibit Hall, test their driving abilities in the ATA Interstate One truck driving simulator, shop at the official NTDC Marketplace, and spend time with friends and colleagues in the industry.
Before competition kicked off on Thursday, ATA hosted the Breakfast of Champions for competitors and their families in attendance. Competitors heard from ATA President and CEO Chris Spear, Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Ray Martinez, ATA First Vice Chairman Randy Guillot and 2018 National Truck Driving Championships Bendix Grand Champion Scott Woodrome, a professional truck driver for FedEx Freight. The Breakfast of Champions was sponsored by PrePass Safety Alliance.
Fans are also encouraged to follow the competition online by tracking the #NTDC2019 hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. ATA is posting Facebook Live video streams of various stages of the competition including a course walkthrough, announcement of finalists, and the announcement of awards Saturday evening. For information on upcoming Facebook Live broadcasts, follow ATA’s official Facebook page.
Members of the media are invited to attend Media Day on Friday, when individuals can drive ATA’s Camo Mack Anthem through a mock driving course (with supervision from professional truck drivers) and learn more about the competition from past champions.
ATA’s Safety Management Council is hosting this year’s National Truck Driving Championships with Premiere Sponsor ACT 1. Dozens of industry professionals serve on the National Truck Driving Championships committee and volunteer at the event. To find out more about the competition, visit the official NTDC website.
ATA continues to develop relationships with key industry partners looking to promote the elite, dedicated drivers who lead the trucking workforce. As such, ATA thanks NTDC Corporate Sponsors AAA Cooper Transportation, ABF Freight System Inc., FedEx, FedEx Express, FedEx Freight, FedEx Ground, Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., PITT OHIO, PrePass Safety Alliance, UPS Freight, and Walmart Transportation LLC. ATA also recognizes Bendix as the Grand Champion award sponsor.
American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or Facebook. Trucking Moves America Forward