The event was designed to test delivery drivers' abilities to expertly handle a stepvan, efficiently plan a delivery route in downtown Manhattan and safely deliver a variety of packages.
"Race to Deliver is more than just a delivery driver competition," said officials with Workhorse Custom Chassis and GMC Jimmy/GMC Truck Div., the major sponsors of the event. "It's a celebration of the men and women who are the unsung heroes in North America today that make sure the goods and services that make up our vibrant economy get to their proper destinations day in and day out."
The first day of the competition, Sept. 10, was a skills test on a controlled course at the Copper Ridge Center in Rutherford, N.J., near the Meadowlands. Drivers had to maneuver their vehicles through a demanding course intended to showcase their driving abilities.
The skills competition involved five separate events: a timed slalom course; timed cargo pick up and drop off at four locations, including one backup and one parallel park; timed cargo loading, delivery and unloading; a dock back up for the shortest distance between the rear bumper and the dock; and a parallel park for closest to the curb.
The second day's competition took place in Manhattan, N.Y., during rush hours, starting in front of the CBS Early Show. Drivers were given a list of places, such as Rockefeller Center, the World Trade Center, the Port Authority, Madison Square Garden, the Ed Sullivan Theatre and Trump International Plaza, and then instructed to make a series of pickups and delivers. The contest ended at historic Tavern on the Green in Central Park.
In this event, drivers were judged on efficient route planning (fewest miles); total stopping time; delivery accuracy (correct parcels delivered to the correct places); timed deliveries at specific locations; and cargo damage (one package, unknown to the competitors, was a very fragile package of eggs; points were deducted for broken eggs).
The emphasis in this part of the competition was on safe driving, route planning and professional delivery, said Tom Frey, president of Workhorse Custom Chassis. Monitors were on board each delivery truck to ensure that all traffic laws were obeyed.
"Race to Deliver is not a street race," Frey noted. "Drivers are timed only while the vehicle is in 'park' and they are delivering packages."
Crowned Delivery Man of the Year was Brian Baumeister, 32, a driver for Ameripride Linen and Apparel Service of Buffalo, N.Y. Tied for the title of Delivery Woman of the Year were Lona Corbin, 44, with Five Star Services, a vending business in Oxford, Ala., and Tami Massaro, 25, with Safety-Kleen, Littlerock, Calif.
All three won 7-day Caribbean cruises for two. Baumeister, who was the overall point winner, was awarded a two-year lease on a GMC Jimmy SUV.
One of the more unusual deliveries was a box of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts to the police station in Times Square, said Jay Sandler, vice president-sales and marketing for Workhorse Custom Chassis. "The officers were not alerted about the deliveries until shortly before the event," he said. "They joined into the fun and were very gracious, as well as happy to get the doughnuts."
Other items delivered included Workhorse Custom Chassis cups, an inflated swimming pool and flying discs.
"We saw Race to Deliver as an ideal way to honor delivery people for the very important work they do on a daily basis, regardless of the conditions," Frey said. "We also saw the race as a way of highlighting the stepvan, the most versatile delivery vehicle ever created."
The competition "didn't let us down," he continued. "We certainly intend to sponsor this competition again next year and hope to see it become a big annual event."
Among the other sponsors of the Race to Deliver competition were Norwegian Cruise Lines, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Bott USA, Power Bottle USA, Brookstone.com, Tavern on the Green, 4imprint.com, WindSpirit and Beyer Brothers Corp.