Ina Daly’s Sweet 16 Win Puts Her on Road to NTDC Again
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The grand champion trophy for her best-in-show performance in the tank truck class qualified her for a 16th trip to the national stage.
Daly, 60, the first woman to win a class title at the National Truck Driving Championships (2013 in the tank truck division), will compete alongside her peers on the national stage Aug. 16-19 in Columbus, Ohio. The “Super Bowl of Safety” contest is a showcase of precision driving skills and industry acuity.
“I never go in anticipating a win because I respect all the competitors out there with me,” Daly said as she reflected on her victory at the Grand Canyon State’s commercial driving tournament. “Everybody is a good driver or else, if they weren’t confident in their skills, they probably wouldn’t enter.
Getting to Know You
Name: Ina Daly
Vehicle Class: Tank Truck
Favorite Food: Mexican cuisine. “You come from Arizona, you gotta be good at making Mexican food.”
Sports Hero: Former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald
Favorite Career Memory: “My favorite moment ever is when I won the nationals in 2013 (in tank truck).”
Lucky Charms: “In my truck I have taped to the passenger-side handrail a little Moana figurine that my granddaughter gave me. So I’ll always keep something of my dad’s, something of my grandkids with me.” Also, a Con-way memento.
“So, never take it for granted. You plan your path around the course and try to execute and try to score on all six problems and focus one step at a time,” she said of her strategy at the state competition.
As for training for NTDC, she said that about a month after the state event her training will resume. “What I usually do is one month, just kind of chill out and then I’ll get back into it,” she said.
As she reflected on her journey to reach the elite ranks of competitive safety-precision driving, Daly acknowledged her introduction to trucking seemed to have been just happenstance. Because prior to pursuing a trucking career, Daly was determined to become an educator.
2023 SCHEDULE: Every state date
“I wanted to be an agricultural educator. I graduated from Glendale Community College with an agricultural degree and a books and tuition scholarship to finish my bachelor’s at [University of Arizona] in Tucson. I worked at a small trucking company in the office whilst in college and during summer break was asked to fill in for a vacationing pickup and delivery driver,” she said.
“I had a Class A license so I could drive family trucks. Three bucks an hour higher than the office, and that led to a permanent driving offer,” she continued. “I decided to delay [University of Arizona] one year with the dean of agriculture education agreeing to hold my scholarship. I thought I could save up money and not have to work full time my final two years in college. Nine months later the job offer at the new Con-way came, and a promise of a Tucson location opening soon so I could work part time there and go to school.”
Who: Winners from nine categories at the state level who have advanced to the national competition, where a Grand Champion will be crowned
What: Contestants are judged on a written exam, pre-trip inspection and driving skills
When: Aug. 16-19
Where: Columbus, Ohio
A vocation anchored in education would be eclipsed by a lifelong passion for professional driving. As she put it, “Well, I found my love of trucks beat out my love of teaching agriculture in whatever state that would have put me. It also paid better. So I never went to Tucson. It’s fitting that my daughter became the teacher.”
- 3-Axle: Christopher Finn, XPO
- 4-Axle: Marc Anthony Ahumada, Shamrock Foods
- 5-Axle: Terry Bartels, UPS
- Flatbed: Eric Ramsdell, Walmart
- Sleeper Berth: Greg Ryan, Walmart
- Step Van: Robert Carchedi, FedEx Express
- Straight Truck: David Coffel, FedEx Express
- Twins: Mike Alpine, ABF Freight
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