COLUMBUS, Ohio — The driver from FedEx Freight whose friends and colleagues often refer to as “the LeBron James of Trucking” earned top honors at the 81st National Truck Driving Championships on Aug. 18.
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13th TRIP TO NTDC: Woodrome wins Ohio
At an elaborate banquet at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Ohio’s Scott Woodrome was named this year’s Bendix Grand Champion, defeating 423 elite truckers from around the country in a grueling four-day competition.
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. 15-18
Where: Columbus, Ohio
The tournament consisted of a written exam, a pre-trip inspection and a driving course.
Woodrome, the home-state favorite, faced off against Don Logan, his FedEx Freight teammate and 2012 Grand Champion, in a highly competitive Tank Truck class. Woodrome and Logan were Ohio’s and Kansas’ Grand Champions this year, respectively. Woodrome won the Tank Truck class and Logan finished as runner-up.
Coming into this year’s tournament, Woodrome was a heavy favorite to win his class. He took home top honors in Tank Truck in 2017, and in 2015 he won Flatbed. Prior to this year, he had qualified for nationals a dozen times. Before advancing to the final round earlier in the day, he told Transport Topics he felt he was performing at a high level on a course most of the competitors described as challenging.
During an emotional acceptance speech, Woodrome thanked his colleagues, drivers from companies such as UPS, Old Dominion Freight Line, YRC Freight, XPO Logistics and Pitt Ohio. He also thanked God and touted his peers’ exploits.
Woodrome holds his trophy high on stage with his wife, Lorraine. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)
“We all work together for safety. And it’s making a difference,” Woodrome told the audience at the awards ceremony. He brought his wife, Lorraine, to the stage. “This truly breeds safety and makes each one of us better each day and every day when we’re on the highways.”
Immediately after his speech, he told TT the winning formula at the tournament was, “That God gives you the abilities and I’m so thankful he’s blessed me with the abilities to do what I do.”
Woodrome, who is from Middletown, Ohio, has nearly 2 million safe miles. After winning his third state title in May, he told TT “perfect practice” was the key to success at truck safety competitions. He said colleagues refer to him as LeBron James because his determination to attain excellence is akin to that of the basketball superstar.
“A lot of people say practice makes perfect, but I like to say you need to practice perfect to make perfect,” he said in May. “Sometimes you gotta do things that other people would maybe look at and say, ‘Well that’s a little bit too much.’ ”
American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear congratulated this year’s best in show.
“This process began with thousands of drivers competing at the state level, but only one driver can emerge as overall Grand Champion, and it’s a testament to Scott’s commitment to safety and his craft that he was able to take home top honors this year,” Spear said.
FedEx put on a strong showing at the awards ceremony, winning seven of the nine classes. Joining Woodrome on the list of national champions are:
3-Axle: Eric Courville, FedEx Freight, Louisiana
4-Axle: Nick Arnold, FedEx Freight, Oklahoma
5-Axle: Duane Staveness, FedEx Freight, Wisconsin
Flatbed: Steven Newsome, UPS Freight, South Carolina
Sleeper Berth: Artur Lesniowski, FedEx Ground, New Jersey
Straight Truck: Dale Brenaman, UPS, Kentucky
Tank Truck: Scott Woodrome, FedEx Freight, Ohio
Twins: Miguel Corral, FedEx Freight, Illinois
Step Van: Eric Damon, FedEx Express, Colorado (see story)
Rookie of the Year: Ronald Zieser, FedEx Freight, Oregon
Team Champions: Nevada
Vehicle Condition: Michael Whitehead, FedEx Freight in the 3-Axle division
Highest Written Exam Award: Three perfect scores: Michael Flippin, FedEx Freight in the Twins division; Tony Spero, ABF Freight in the Tank Truck division; and Eric Courville, FedEx Freight in the 3-Axle division
Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence: Neil P. Nogues, YRC Freight, New Hampshire in the Straight Truck division
Sam Gillette Volunteer of the Year Award: Jerry Waddell, Cargo Transporters
2018 NTDC Final Standings by on Scribd