Special Coverage of the National Truck Driving Championships

Kolton Schultz Returns to NTDC Stage With Idaho Victory

XPO Trucker Guided by Instincts in Claiming 3-Axle Title
Kolton Schultz (right)
XPO driver and Idaho grand champ Kolton Schultz (right) will be competing in the 3-axle class at the National Truck Driving Championships after going last year as the sleeper berth winner. (XPO)

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At trucking competitions, it sometimes requires one’s instincts to greet the precision driving courses respectfully. Elite competitors are quick to trust their instincts as they appropriately recall the adage: Objects may be closer than they appear.

XPO driver Kolton Schultz credits his instinctive respect for the intricacies of competition for his grand champion performance at the Idaho Truck Driving Championships. His reliance on instincts, guided by a respect for the course, proved particularly helpful as he maneuvered his 3-axle truck.

In taking home blue-ribbon honors in the Gem State in May, Schultz punched his ticket to his second National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships.

Last year, he competed in the Super Bowl of Safety, as it is known, in the sleeper berth division.

Getting to Know You

Kolton Schultz

Name: Kolton Schultz

Age: 27

Company: XPO

From: Pocatello, Idaho

Vehicle Class: 3-axle

Favorite Food: Hot wings

Last Movie You Watched: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”

Last Song You Listened To: “Eighteen Wheels And A Dozen Roses” by Kathy Mattea

What Will You Think About When You Drive at Nationals: “Paying attention to where my trailer is at, and just trying to remember the steps of the plan that I kind of drew up for myself when I first walked the course.”

Something Most People Don’t Know About You: “I’m a big ‘Lord of the Rings’ fan.”

Favorite Quote: “I’m not superstitious but I am a little stitious.” — Michael Scott, played by Steve Carrell, in "The Office"

A fan of a course’s maneuver, he recently shared his approach to the craft.

“I just learned not to underestimate the course. And yeah, it sounds kind of silly, but to, like, respect the problems and even though they may look [easy] … It looks a lot different walking around the course than it does sitting in the cab and driving it.”

With nationals in Columbus, Ohio, less than two months away, Schultz has again turned his attention to training.

He devotes plenty of time to the nuances related to the competition’s disciplines, such as the pre-trip vehicle inspection and written examination of industry rules. He constantly is listening to the audio version of the “Facts for Drivers” manual, which is the basis for the tournament’s exam.

As he put it, “A few weekends here and there until we get closer to August, we’ll go down to my terminal and we’ll set up some problems and practice written tests, and some pre-trips.

"And that’ll basically be my Saturday routine. And listen to the book for a few hours a night and that’ll more or less be my routine until August.”

Schultz’s brother, Kaden, and father, Clint, train together. The patriarch, a nationals qualifier during his trucking career, took on the role of mentor.

“The biggest thing that he preaches to my brother and I is probably the back room,” Kolton Schultz explained. “So the written [exam] and the pre-trip [inspection] is where you’re going to set yourself up for success or win.”

NTDC 2023

The Road to the 2023 National Truck Driving Championships

State ScheduleNTDC Qualifiers | Map of State Champions | Photo Gallery

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

Other Idaho winners:

4-axle: Adam Heim, FedEx

5-axle: Darrik Fong, FedEx

Flatbed: Thomas Richardson, Franklin Building Supply

Sleeper: David Shattuck, Giltner

Step Van: Thomas Wilson, FedEx

Straight Truck: Josh Jetton, XPO

Tank Truck: Scott Hansen, Old Dominion Freight Line

Twins: Daniel Istre, Yellow

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