The top trucker out of the Lone Star state this year is Michael Cirrincione of FedEx Freight.
Competing in the 3-axle, Cirrincione took home the grand champion trophy at the Texas Truck Driving Championships June 1-2 to secure a spot in the national tournament.
“It felt overwhelming,” Cirrincione said about his victory. “I’ve done states three times, and I didn’t do so well the other two times. So this time I didn’t expect to do well, but it was just a good day.”
The secret to a successful showing at states was to remain focused on the course.
“I didn’t even see the crowd. I blocked them out. So maybe that was the secret to this year’s,” he told Transport Topics. “So, hopefully at nationals I can do the same thing: Block everybody. Focus on the course.”
Cirrincione is the latest FedEx Freight driver to earn blue-ribbon honors at the state qualifiers for the national safety competition. This year, FedEx Freight drivers have won top honors at the tournaments in California, Colorado, Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota and Ohio.
For Cirrincione, a driver with 25 years of experience, the upcoming tournament will be his debut at the national stage. He is confident the bright lights and big stage at the best-of-the-best tournament will not intimidate him.
Who: Winners from nine categories at the state level advance to the national competition, with a grand champion crowned
What: Contestants are judged on a written examination and their driving skills
When: Aug. 15-18
Where: Columbus, Ohio
“I expect to win. But, you know, you’re there. Everybody has a chance. Everybody is obviously good. You know, but I don’t have to worry about them. I need to worry about what I do. I’m just going to take my test, do my pre-trip, and relax and drive,” he said.
The national tournament includes a written exam, pre-trip inspection and course run.
In Texas, Cirrincione’s FedEx colleague, Jaret Holmes, won the flatbed class to punch his ticket to the national tournament. Also traveling to nationals this summer will be Jose Gonzalez of HEB Grocery Co. in straight truck, Derald Watson of AAA Cooper Transportation in the 4-axle, Jack Hargett of AAA Cooper Transportation in the 5-axle, Theo Wilson of HEB in the tanker class, Carl Crago Jr. of Old Dominion Freight Line in twin trailers, Onesimo Gandara of YRC Freight in the sleeper berth and Jack Henderson of FedEx Express in step van.
The National Truck Driving Championships will be held Aug. 15-18 in Columbus, Ohio. Last year’s national grand champion was FedEx Express’ Roland Bolduc from Massachusetts.