Led by one returning national champion, 35 veterans and 22 first-time competitors, less-than-truckload carrier Con-way Freight is sending 58 professional truck drivers to the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championships, to be held in New Orleans Aug. 16-20.
Con-way drivers from 32 states will compete in all eight classes of the competition; each driver is a state champion who won first place in his class at the state level. Dale Duncan, a 23-year trucking veteran, will be going for his second national champion title; in 2003, he was national champion in the 4-Axle class. Duncan, who will compete in the Tanker class this year, works for Con-way Freight in the company’s service center in Chula Vista, Calif.; he and the other Con-way competitors and their guests will travel to New Orleans at company expense for the four-day competition.
“Just to compete in this event is the ultimate test and compliment of these drivers’ capabilities, both mental and physical driving skills,” says David S. McClimon, president of Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Con-way Freight. “They are masters of their profession, and it shows every day on the road. As a group, they have driven over 82 million miles without an accident. Their attention to both safety and their customers makes them the best of the best, in our opinion.” McClimon says he and his team of top executives from across the country will be at the event in the Con-way cheering section, as they are every year.
At the competition, each driver will be tested in four areas: a personal interview, a timed written exam, a pre-trip inspection test and a driving skills test. There are eight classes of competition; the national champion of each class receives a check for $1,000, a plaque and a gold belt buckle from ATA. Each Con-way driver qualified to compete at the state competition by having an accident-free safety record for the past year.
Since 1999 whenever a Con-way driver wins a national champion title, the company gives the driver a new Ford F150 4×4 Stretch Cab pickup truck; it also creates a custom decaled work tractor for the driver that displays his name and national title. Since 1999, the company has given away seven pickups.