Virginia truck driving champions crowned

virginia trucking associationNine professional Virginia truck drivers were crowned 2017 Champions of the Highway at the 66th annual Virginia Truck Driving Championships held June 16 and 17 at Wytheville Community College in Wytheville.

First place champions, their hometown, their company, and home terminal location are:

Step Van:
Christopher Brown
FedEx Express
Straight Truck:
Dan Wilson
Thomas Tascone
Walmart Transportation
Mark Brundage
FedEx Express
5-Axle Van:
Kenneth Cook
Mt. Joy, PA
Walmart Transportation
Mt. Crawford
5-Axle Flatbed:
Joe Clements
UPS Freight
5-Axle Tank:
Anthony Cottrell
XPO Logistics
Sleeper Berth:
Mike Barnes
Walmart Transportation
Mt. Crawford
Chuck Bird
FedEx Freight

A total of 94 professional truck drivers from across the state representing 12 different companies entered the competition. There were 27 “rookie” drivers who competed in the Championships for their first time.

The event is sponsored by the Virginia Trucking Association and its Safety and Human Resources Council and is patterned after the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championships. The first-place champions listed above will represent Virginia in the National Championships to be held August 9-12 in Orlando, FL.

The winner of the Neill Darmstadter Memorial Grand Champion Award was Mark Brundage of Leesburg, driver for FedEx Express, out of their Sterling, Va. terminal. The Grand Champion Award is presented each year to the driver with the highest score of all the competitors. Brundage has been a professional truck driver for 24 years with 16 of those years with FedEx Express and has driven 1.5 million safe driving miles.

The Willie Taylor Memorial Course Champion Award was presented to Thomas Tascone
of Lynchburg, a driver for Walmart Transportation, for achieving the highest score on the field course portion of the competition. This award was created 3 years ago to honor the memory of Robert W. “Willie” Taylor, who competed in various state and national truck driving championships as a driver and won two national championships in his class. Following his driving career, Mr. Taylor served as Chairman of the Virginia Truck Driving Championships for several years and also was a member of the ATA National Truck Driving Championships Committee.

The Captain Roy Terry Memorial Pre-Trip Inspection Award, given to the driver with the highest score in the equipment defects portion of the competition, this year the award was presented to Kenneth Cook from Walmart Transportation, LLC, out of their Mt. Crawford, Va. Distribution Center.

The Rookie of the Year Award was presented to Tony Myrtle of Staunton, driver for FedEx Freight out of their Fishersville, Va. terminal. This award is presented each year to the highest scoring, first-time competitor and can only be won once by a driver.

The Team Trophy was won by ABF Freight System, headquartered in Fort Smith, AR. This award is presented to the company with the highest average score of all its drivers competing in the Championships.

Other winners in the competition by class, with their hometown, company and home terminal are:

Step Van:
2nd:  Jaime Matos, Woodbridge –  FedEx Express, Herndon
Straight Truck:
2nd:  John Davis, Wytheville – ABF Freight System, Wytheville
3rd:  Chris Broce, Staunton – YRC Freight, Fishersville
2nd:  Jimmy Smith, Daleville- ABF Freight System, Inc., Roanoke
3rd:  Robbie Cottrell, Bedford – XPO Logistics, Roanoke
2nd:  Joe Wilson, Gladys – Frito-Lay, Lynchburg
3rd:  Bill Mabe, Cawa – ABF Freight System, Wytheville
5-Axle Van
2nd:  Doug Padgett, Alexandria – Robinson Terminal Warehouse, Springfield
3rd:   Kerry Ryan, Powhatan- FedEx Freight, Chester
5-Axle Tank
2nd:  Willie Mizelle, Richmond – ABF Freight System, Richmond
3rd:  R.B. Mitchel, Chesterfield – Walmart Transportation, Mt. Crawford
5-Axle Flatbed
2nd:  Stacy Warren, Woodlawn – XPO Logistics, Wytheville
3rd:  Randy Ebinger, Haymarket – YRC Freight, Manassas
5-Axle Sleeper:
2nd:  Mark Salzone, Forest – Frito-Lay, Lynchburg
3rd:  David Okeson, Virginia Beach – FedEx Freight, Virginia Beach
Twin Trailers
2nd:  James Timberlake, Amelia – Walmart Transportation, Sutherland
3rd:  David Boyer, Fries – ABF Freight System, Wytheville

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