Driving champions gather to compete

When Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida on September 10, it was unknown whether the International Foodservice Distributors Association (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. The Canadian and US national anthems were played, and the competition began.

The competition consisted of three parts. On September 15, drivers took a written exam with questions ranging from road laws to vehicle safety. The next day, they performed a pre-trip inspection and drove a field course. During the pre-trip, each driver inspected a vehicle to find 10 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 competition concluded with an awards banquet September 17 to recognize top finishers in each category, as well as the top performing team of drivers and the highest score of a driver competing for the first time.

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

Three-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

Five-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

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.

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