Best driver in Illinois Headed to National Competition - Lockport resident will demonstrate driving prowess in Indianapolis
Last updated 9/4/2022 at 1:02pm
Some people can claim to be the best at their job Lockport native Ceth Christensen has proof.
Christensen, a UPS driver who has been on his Plainfield route for 13 years, won the Illinois Trucking Association's 2022 Grand Champion and will compete August 16-19 in Indianapolis competing for the title of best driver in the United States.
"I love my job," Christensen said. "I have the opportunity to serve my community and I have a lot of fun doing it."
Being on the same route for more than a decade, Christensen has watched families grow, children get older and people move away – all while delivering essential and luxury packages to the homes.
Christensen began competing in trucking competitions in 2015 at the directive of a supervisor. In his first competition, Christensen took Rookie of the Year honor and qualifying him for nationals, which he has advanced to twice before.
The competition runs in three sections, with only one of them being behind the wheel and that, Christensen said, is not like people think.
"As soon as you say you are in a driving competition, everyone thinks of NASCAR. The driving portion is six obstacles on the course that they call problems, because we have to figure out get to the next one and get the points," he said. "They always set them up on angles, so you usually only do two or three miles per hour on the course so you aren't bypassing something. The second category is a written test out of a book called 'Facts for Drivers,' that we are given each year. The third category is called pre-trip, where they mock up defects – like they might hang a paperclip from the brake line or put a squiggle mark on a headlight or the frame and you have to find that when you do your timed pre-trip. I need to find 15 defects in six minutes."
Each section is scored, with driving accounting for 300 points, the written test 80 and pre-trip 100 – making the maximum score 480 points.
While all truckers from major outlets to independent companies are part of the nine-class competition, Christensen said he competes against mainly FedEx and Walmart drivers in the prototypical delivery truck that come to homes daily.
Christensen spends several hours a week training with other drivers on Saturdays or studying on his own leading up to competitions.
"I love the opportunity to meet others who are also passionate about trucking driving and bettering their driving skills," Christensen said. "Everyone is extremely supportive of one another. It is definitely a team effort preparing for competition."