Ralph Hamilton won the South Carolina Truck Driving Championships on May 5 in Columbia, South Carolina. The Grand Champion will be headed to Pittsburgh August 14-17 for the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championship. Hamilton won 3-Axel Class in 2017 which earned him his first trip to Nationals.
Hamilton won with a solid and consistent run. He posted a perfect 50 points on the Offset and Curb Stop problems and scored 45 on the Rear Stop, Right Turn and Left Steer. The Funky Monkey proved challenging for all drivers which Ralph negotiated with the second highest score, 30. Pushing him over the edge, Hamiliton posted a 100 on the written exam for the second time his career.
Hamilton edged out the victory of two formidable past Grand Champions, Ronnie Luckadoo a five time SC Grand Champion and James (JB) Quarles. Quarles, a 2014 National Class Champion, had a strong showing coming up just short of Hamilton. He posted perfect scores on the Offset and Right Turn problems while tying for the highest pre-trip score. Luckadoo, who had the honor of driving the American Flag during the national anthem from earning the 2018 Grand Champion, came out of the gate strong with perfect scores on the Offset, Right Turn and Left Steer problems. However, he was tripped up on the Funky Monkey and Pre-Trip. Luckadoo finished second to Hamilton in the 3-Axel Class which was dubbed the “group of death” with these two powerhouses.
Ralph Hamilton has five million safe driving miles under his belt in 46 years of professional truck driving. 41 of those years have been with his current employer, Old Dominion Freight Lines. In his spare time, he trains his dog and takes long walks with his artist wife, Jennifer. They have two children and five grandchildren.
The following champions of each class will be joining Hamilton at Nationals:
|3-Axle||Jackie Reed, FedEx Freight|
|4-Axle||John Kitchens, FedEx Freight|
|5-Axle||Christopher Gaston, FedEx Freight|
|Flatbed||Scott Osborne, FedEx Freight|
|Sleeper Berth||Reginald Johnson, Ergon Trucking|
|Tank Truck||Jason Matte, Walmart Supply Chain|
|Twins||Don Nehring, FedEx Ground|
|Straight Truck||Kieth Reynaud, Walmart Supply Chain|
|Step Van||Brandon Lee, FedEx Ground|