August 19, 2014
South Carolina's own, J. B. Quarles, Wal-Mart, won the long-sought trophy in the steel city Aug. 17 in the four-axle class at the National Truck Driving Championships.
Quarles, 42, who’s away from home six days a week driving a sleeper truck for Wal-Mart, has competed for seven years within the Wal-Mart organization and at the state level.
“I do it to improve my driving skills,” he said. “I do it to stay on top of my game; I do it because I want to place first, to be the best of the best.”
NDTC may be over for the year but Quarles said he isn’t slacking off.
“I try to practice every day behind the stores,” he said of the Wal-Mart locations he supplies. “I like to try to get myself in tight places for the challenge.”
Quarles has a model 18-wheeler toy truck, bought at Wal-Mart, and borrowed miniature make-believe traffic cones from one of his son’s toys that he packs in his suitcase when he travels to competitions.
“Once I know what the course is, I make a course out of those cones,” he said. “I drive that [toy] truck around the course, so, it helps visualize how that trailer’s going to turn, how close it’s going to get, do I need to swing wide, do I know I need to swing tight.”
Next year, Quarles said, he will compete at the state level again in four-axle in hopes of getting to the 2015 nationals.
Besides winning a grand championship, he said, he wants to win the safety award given out at the nationals — the Vehicle Condition Award, which goes to the driver with the highest score on the pre-trip check portion of the competition.
SCTA President Rick Todd said, "SCTA is very proud of J.B. and we believe this is only the second time a professional driver from SC has won their class at the national level. This makes South Carolina particularly proud to have our own Phil Byrd as ATA Chairman, and now Quarles taking this national title."
Congratulations J.B. we are very proud of you!