Championship drivers from 10 states will represent ABF at the 74th National Truck Driving Championships in Orlando, Fla., August 9-13, 2011. Professional drivers earn the right to compete in the National Championships by winning state driving championships and by maintaining accident-free driving records for the preceding year.
Among the competitors representing ABF are three-time National Champion John Hazlett (1994, 2000, 2007), who earned the highest score on the written test in the 2011 Pennsylvania competition, and two-time National Champion Tony Spero (2006, 2009). Competing as 2011 Grand Champions from their respective states will be ABF drivers Spero (Connecticut), David Wiechers (Missouri), and Chuck Smetzer (Maryland).
"ABF is extremely proud of our drivers who have earned the privilege to compete in this year's National Truck Driving Championships," said Sam Cates, ABF safety and security director. "These drivers are just a sampling of the many ABF professional drivers who safely deliver and protect the goods entrusted to us on a daily basis—providing unmatched value-added logistics solutions for our customers. The reputation ABF enjoys as a trusted supply-chain partner and a safety leader will be well represented with this group."
Known informally as the Super Bowl of Safety, the annual event is sponsored by the Safety and Loss Prevention Management Council of the American Trucking Associations. The goal is to promote driving safety among the nation's three million professional truck drivers. Competitive divisions include straight truck, three-axle, four-axle, five-axle, tank truck, flatbed, five-axle sleeper, twins and step van. The comprehensive competitions include written examinations, pre-trip inspection and a demonstration of braking, parking, backing and maneuvering skills.
The ABF slate of state champions for the 2011 national competition includes:
Loren Hatfield, Twins, Arkansas
Mark Kance, Straight Truck, Ohio
Rosey Jarzenski, Twins, Ohio
Tony Spero, Flatbed, Connecticut
David Wiechers, Straight Truck, Missouri
Chuck Smetzer, Three-Axle, Maryland
John Hazlett, Three-Axle, New Jersey
Tom Martin, Three-Axle, Wyoming
Andrew Walston, Flatbed, Wyoming
A.J. Kelly, Twins, Wyoming
Michael Sorenson, Four-Axle, California
Lonnie Walker, Four-Axle, Mississippi
Todd Wilemon, Flatbed, Mississippi
Gerald Benavidez, Four-Axle, New Mexico
Michael Contreras, Five-Axle, New Mexico
James Morgan, Sleeper, New Mexico
Ralph Garcia, Flatbed, New Mexico
Bill Sanchez, Tanker, New Mexico