ORLANDO, Fla: When Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida on Sunday, September 10, it was unknown whether the IFDA Truck Driving Championship in Orlando would happen a few days later. Due to the efforts of many, the 2017 transportation safety event was held and on the following Saturday as the sun rose over the Epcot parking lot where the competition is held, drivers and spectators arrived on buses. An eagle perched on a cell tower next to the lot. The Canadian and US national anthems were played, and the competition began.
The competition consists of three parts. On Friday evening, drivers took a written exam with questions ranging from road laws to vehicle safety. On Saturday, they performed a pre-trip inspection and drove a field course. During the pre-trip, each driver inspected a vehicle to find ten planted defects that could affect driving safety. That is an exercise drivers do each day before taking their vehicle out for deliveries. During the field course, drivers navigated six challenges simulating situations they face on the road.

"The IFDA Truck Driving Championship reinforces those aspects of safety that professional drivers do each and every day to keep America's roads safe," said Mark S. Allen, president and CEO of the International Foodservice Distributors Association. "This competition brings together the best drivers in the food distribution industry to test their skills and knowledge. There is an amazing amount of comradery at the event."

The competition concluded with an awards banquet on Sunday evening to recognize top finishers in each category, as well as the top performing team of drivers and the highest score of a driver competing in the championship for the first time.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place awards were presented for the three different truck classes in the competition. The winners include:

Straight Truck
1st Place: Anthony Garcia, Shamrock Foods Company, Phoenix, AZ
2nd Place: Glenn Anderson, Eby-Brown Company, Montgomery, IL
3rd Place: Matt Baker, Team Sledd, Wheeling, WV

3-Axle (28-foot Tractor/Trailer)
1st Place: Gary Noyes, Shamrock Foods Company, Albuquerque, NM
2nd Place: Danny Duke, Shamrock Foods Company, Commerce City, CO
3rd Place: Larry Wilson, Delhaize America Transportation, Lexington, NC

5-Axle (48-foot Tractor/Trailer)
1st Place: Adam Caughey, Reinhart Foodservice, Marshall, MN
2nd Place: Joaquin Cuadras, McLane Foodservice Distribution, Riverside, CA
3rd Place: Andrew Spindler, Eby-Brown Company, Eau Claire, WI

In addition, a Team Award was presented to a company with three or more drivers in the competition. For the second year in a row, Shamrock Foods Company was awarded the Team Award with the highest average score amongst their drivers.

Of the 135 drivers at the 2017 Championship, 81 were competing for the first time. Anthony Garcia of Shamrock Foods received the 2017 Rookie of the Year Award with the highest score of a first-time competitor. Garcia has been with the company for 17 years and was the only driver to score on every obstacle during the field course driving challenge.

(Posted on 28 September 2017, 1669950733 44O200O169O3)