Pro drivers from Tennessee, Ohio and Florida take top spots in Pilot Flying J’s annual Road Warrior contest

Eric Britton
Eric Britton of Clarksville, Tennessee, a driver for FirstFleet, is the $10,000 grand-prize winner of Pilot Flying J’s Road Warrior contest. (Courtesy: Pilot Flying J)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pilot Flying J on Aug. 26 announced the winners of its seventh annual Road Warrior contest as part of the company’s kick off to Driver Appreciation month, which begins Sept. 1.


After reviewing more than 3,000 entries, Pilot Flying J selected Eric Britton of Clarksville, Tennessee, as the $10,000 grand prize Road Warrior winner. Zdenko Zalac of Clinton, Ohio, and Mona Beedle of Auburndale, Florida, were named the second- and third-place Road Warrior winners, respectively.

“Our annual Road Warrior contest is just one way we celebrate and recognize how much professional drivers mean to the world,” said Shameek Konar, chief strategy officer for Pilot Flying J.

“Especially during these challenging times, professional drivers are delivering the goods we depend on while going above and beyond to help people and communities along the way,” Konar continued. “Congratulations to Eric, our finalists and all of the drivers who were nominated. You are changing the world one mile at a time and we truly appreciate your hard work to keep North America moving.”

A veteran of the U.S. Army, Grand-prize winner Britton spent much of his 15 years of service as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division before becoming a truck driver for the Army. After retiring from the military in 1999, Britton continued his career as a professional driver, joining the team at FirstFleet. He later became a safety driver trainer in addition to driving. In 2018, Britton was recognized by FirstFleet for 2 million safe miles.

To honor Britton as the grand prize winner, Pilot Flying J partnered with his FirstFleet and his family to surprise him with the news of his win in a congratulatory video. To view the video, along with Britton’s reaction to the surprise presentation, click here.

Zdenko Zalac
Zdenko Zalac of Clinton, Ohio, took second place in the Road Warrior contest, winning $5,000. (Courtesy: Pilot Flying J)

“To be named the 2020 Road Warrior means so much, and I’m very thankful,” Britton said. “My advice to other drivers is to slow down, take your time, be aware of what’s around you and always display professionalism. It’s truly an honor to represent my company and be recognized in this way. Thank you for believing in me.”

As second-place winner, Zalac was awarded $5,000 from Pilot Flying J. Zalac, a 20-year veteran of the trucking industry, has logged more than 3 million accident-free miles and has traveled throughout the 48 contiguous United States plus Alaska. During his years on the road, Zalac has earned a reputation for helping other drivers by buying meals, donating showers and helping with repairs. He is also active in his Ohio community, feeding and donating tents to the homeless as well as providing clothing to the less fortunate.

Mona Beedle web
Mona Beedle of Auburndale, Florida, received $2,500 as third-place winner in the Road Warrior contest. (Courtesy: Pilot Flying J)

Third-place winner Beedle, a professional driver since 1989 and an advocate for women drivers across the country, was awarded a $2,500 prize. In addition to writing a monthly column for a trucking blog, Beedle is active in Women In Trucking and is the founder of the Trucking Angels for Christ Inc. ministry.

Nominators of the grand, second- and third-place winners also received a $500 prize.

New this year, Pilot Flying J randomly selected 400 professional drivers from Road Warrior contest entries and rewarded them each with 5,000 myRewards loyalty points, a $50 in-store value, for drivers’ dedication throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

To find out more about the Road Warriors contest, click here.

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