[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]
Not only did Scott Delaney win his third straight division title at the Iowa Truck Driving Championships June 13-14 in Altoona, he also claimed his first Grand Champion trophy in six tries.
Delaney, a driver for Casey’s General Stores, won first place in the 3-Axle division. He grabbed the top spot in the 5-Axle class in 2017-18.
“The challenge was mostly getting comfortable with the change in equipment size from what I do every day,” Delaney said of competing in the 3-Axle category. “I had to get used to where the corners, front and back of the 3-Axle were. We were able to practice a few times the previous week and that made it much easier. I made a mental decision to remain calm and that the 3-Axle class was going to be ‘fun.’ In the past, I made the 5-Axle class much more serious than I needed to.”
Who: Winners from nine categories at the state level have advanced to the national competition, where a Grand Champion will be crowned
What: Contestants are judged on a written examination and their driving skills
When: Aug. 14-17
Delaney said it was “awesome” to win the Grand Champion title and that he was “surprised and honored” to hear his name called. He’s a 35-year truck driver and Iowan who has been with Casey’s for 22 years and said he’s stacked up “over 3 million nonpreventable accident miles.”
Delaney lives in Ankeny, the same city in which Casey’s is headquartered.
“It’s good to see a driver from any company win, but it’s rewarding to see a driver from a company based in a Des Moines suburb take the Grand Champion spot,” said Don Egli, director of safety and security for the Iowa Motor Truck Association. “Iowa has some of the best trucking companies in the country, and Casey’s General Stores Inc. is no exception.” Egli added that Casey’s took the team award as well.
IOWA ARCHIVE PAGE: Previews, recaps and more
Egli said that the event went smoothly, the weather was great and that the “pre-challenge,” a team-building exercise the IMTA hosts when drivers arrive on the first night, was a hit. The activity this year was trivia.
“We split the drivers into teams of 10, then gave them five rounds of questions, with 10 questions in each round,” Egli said. “The rounds included questions on current events, trucking, TV and movies, ‘the Great State of Iowa,’ and what seemed to be the drivers’ favorite round — food and beverage. This was undoubtedly their favorite challenge since we added that to our agenda several years ago.”
The event featured 28 rookies, and they experienced success. Kevin Golwitzer of FedEx Freight finished in a four-way tie for Best Pre-Trip Inspection, three rookies — Joseph Massey of Pyle Transportation (5-Axle), William Crary of Cardinal Logistics Management (Sleeper Berth) and Aaron Yohe of Johnsrud Transport (Flatbed) — grabbed second-place finishes, and one, Eric Lesser of Green Products Company, captured third in Sleeper Berth.
“That goes to show you that they don’t just prepare for the event, they utilize the skills that they use every day in their jobs,” Egli said.
As a previous division winner, Delaney has gone to the National Truck Driving Championships before but has no titles yet. He’s got a few goals for his upcoming trip to Pittsburgh, site of this year’s NTDC Aug. 14-17.
“I want to achieve 100% on the written exam and make the drive-off [top five in the division],” he said. “I’m excited, and I will be prepared. I’m anxious to meet my fellow competitors.” Delaney added that he’s studying the rule book daily.
“Scott Delaney has put a lot of effort into winning over the years, and it shows,” Egli said.
2019 SCHEDULE: State-by-state list.
All competitors moving on to nationals:
- 3-Axle: Scott Delaney, Casey’s General Stores, Inc.
- 4-Axle: Allen Sohn, FedEx Freight
- 5-Axle: Richard Meimann, Casey’s General Stores, Inc.
- Flatbed: Mark Howard, Old Dominion Freight Line
- Sleeper Berth: George Lundahl, Schuster Co.
- Tank Truck: George Foster, Casey’s General Stores, Inc.
- Twins: Kevin Garlick, Old Dominion Freight Line
- Straight Truck: Richard Barre, XPO Logistics