For those competing in the tanker class at the National Truck Driving Championships in August, watch out for the guy whom peers call the Tom Brady or LeBron James of trucking.
We’re referring to Scott Woodrome, who — notwithstanding the comparisons to these championship-winning football and basketball players — exudes humility at work and in truck safety competitions.
“At the end of the day I’m just a normal guy that wants to be safe, that wants to come home to his family, and everybody else to be able to do the same,” he told Transport Topics after claiming his third grand champion victory in May in Ohio, where he won the tanker class.
His performance at the state competition has earned him an impressive 13th trip to nationals, which also will take place in Ohio in August.
His secret: Practice, a lot.
Ohio in Pictures
Adhering to a regimen of repeating myriad maneuvers in commercial vehicles and studying the rules of the road for the tournament’s written exam require strong self-discipline, Woodrome explained. And, that commitment is what has led to two class wins nationally. Woodrome won the tanker division at last year’s national tournament, held in Orlando, Fla., falling just shy of the overall national title.
“A lot of people say practice makes perfect, but I like to say you need to practice perfect to make perfect,” he explained, adding, “Sometimes you gotta do things that other people would maybe look at and say, ‘well that’s a little bit too much.’ ”
For the Middletown, Ohio, FedEx Freight driver — who has nearly 2 million safe miles — family is what matters. Woodrome’s family members support his enthusiasm for truck safety, and Woodrome says they provide a “wide variety of contributions” in preparing for the tournaments — most notably his wife, Lorraine. “You learn something from all kinds of different people,” he said.
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
Recognizing everybody is a rookie at some point, Woodrome encourages the younger drivers with less experience to engage in the industry and the competitions. He explained that newer drivers should accept that first couple of years of competition may be overwhelming. Eventually, however, the experience sets in and the surroundings become familiar, “You get used to [it] the more you do it; the better you become at it,” he said.
Woodrome will enjoy home-court advantage at nationals, which will be held in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 15-18. The National Truck Driving Championships celebrates safety and he feels blessed to qualify for the big dance and showcase his professionalism.
“This type of [national] event breeds safety. … And it makes you focus on, sometimes, things you normally wouldn’t focus on, on your day-to-day task.”
Also representing the Buckeye State at nationals will be Mark Hewitt of Ross Transportation, winner of the sleeper berth class. Winning the 3-axle was Paul Savill of UPS Freight. Other class winners included Jeff Pentrack of Pitt Ohio in the 4-axle, Richie Bowman of Pitt Ohio in 5-axle, Paul Hillman of FedEx Freight in straight truck, Bryan Elges of FedEx Freight in flatbed, Jeff Rose of YRC Freight in twins and Aaron Snyder of FedEx Ground in step van.