Nine professional Virginia truck drivers were crowned “Champions of the Highway” at the 70th Virginia Truck Driving Championships held June 2 and 3 at Richard Bland College in Petersburg, Virginia.
The winner of the Neil Darmstadter Memorial Grand Champion Award was Robert Lilly of Chesterfield, a driver for FedEx Freight, Inc. out of their Chesterfield, Virginia terminal. The Grand Champion Award is presented each year to the driver with the highest score of all the competitors. Lilly has been a professional truck driver for 28 years and has accumulated 3 million safe driving miles.
Michael Daughtridge of Rocky Mount, a driver for Walmart Transportation received the Willie Taylor Memorial Course Champion Award. This award is given to the driver who achieves the highest score on the field course portion of the competition. Daughtridge also earned the Rookie of the Year Award for being the highest scoring, first-time competitor.
The Captain Roy Terry Memorial Pre-Trip Inspection Award was presented to James T. Jones of Norfolk, a driver for FedEx Ground. The Pre-Trip Inspection award is given to the driver with the highest score in the equipment defects portion of the competition.
The Team Trophy was won by Frito-Lay, Inc., headquartered in Plano, Texas. This award is presented to the company with the highest average score of all its drivers competing in the Championships.
First place champions and their companies are:
Straight Truck: Michael Weeks, Old Dominion Freight Line
3- Axle: Michael Daughtridge, Walmart Transp.
4-Axle: Clifford Jewell, FedEx Freight
5-Axle Van: Michael Martin, Walmart Transp.
5- Axle Flatbed: Robert Lilly, FedEx Freight
5-Axle Tank: Willie Mizelle, ABF Freight
Sleeper Berth: Kenny Sage, Frito-Lay
Twin-Trailers: Vincent Williams, FedEx Freight
Step Van: Kristin Walker, FedEx Ground
A total of 80 professional truck drivers from across the Commonwealth representing 13 different companies entered the competition. There were 32 “rookie” drivers who competed in the championships for their first time.
The event is sponsored by the Virginia Trucking Association and its Safety and Human Resources Council and is patterned after the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championships.
The first-place champions will represent Virginia in the National Championships to be held Aug.16-19 in Columbus, Ohio.