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Canadian Drivers To Miami Valley

Published: December 28, 2016 6:32 pm ET

Last Comment: December 28, 2016 8:56 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Thirty of the winningest drivers in North America will descend on Miami Valley Raceway in southwest Ohio to determine the champion of the first-ever $25,000 North American Drivers Challenge from January 8-10.

Miami Valley opens its much-anticipated 87-day 2017 meet on Friday night, January 6, with the highest purses in the track's four-year history.

The tournament driver roster includes seven of the top 11 in the current 2016 continental dash standings, and winners of an astounding 122,950 combined career victories through December 23, the deadline for contest entries.

The field includes Aaron Merriman, who seems destined to defend his 2015 North American dash title with 880 wins this year, almost 200 more than his nearest competitor; and Brett Miller, who is the hottest driver at The Meadowlands having recently won eight races on a single program.

Others among the top 11 winners this season are Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Bob McClure, Josh Sutton, Alfie Carroll, Chris Page and Trace Tetrick. McClure and Carroll are the winningest drivers in Canada in 2016 while Sutton and Page are regulars at Miami Valley and may benefit from a "home field advantage." Other Canadian-based drivers competing are Guy Gagnon, Doug McNair and James MacDonald.

Ten of the 30 drivers in the competition have reached the coveted 5,000-win plateau, topped by Peter Wrenn with 9,792. The others are Merriman (8,705 wins), Miller (7,399), Don Irvine Jr. (7,173), Jim Pantaleano (6,944), Sam Widger (5,571), Eric Goodell (5,351), Ken Holliday (5,351), Randy Tharps (5,124) and Tony Hall (5,075).

The field was whittled to 30 from over 40 applicants, based on total career victories with a minimum of 100 wins in 2016.

Each of the drivers will get four randomly drawn mounts on each of the first two matinee programs, with the top 10 point-earners after two days advancing to the championship on the third afternoon. Each finalist will get eight drives and a fresh score card. Points will be awarded as follows: 30 for a win, 20 for a place finish, 14 for show, then 11-9-7-5-3-1-0 for fourth through 10th. A driver whose horse is a late scratch will be awarded 8 points in the two preliminary rounds only.

The $25,000 prize money will be awarded to the finalists as follows: $10,000 for first prize, $5,000 second, $3,000 third, then $2,000, $1,500, $1,250, $1,000, $750 and $500 for fourth through ninth. In addition to the prize money, all drivers will keep their customary five per cent driver's commissions for all of their mounts.

Purses for the races used in the North American Drivers Challenge will be enhanced by 10 per cent on Sunday and Monday; with the championship races on Tuesday boosted by 20 per cent. Owners of horses that finish sixth through 10th in every contest race over the three-day competition will receive $200 for their participation.

Both post positions and driver assignments will be drawn randomly by the judges throughout the contest.

The list of contestants, in order of career wins, is below:

LAST NAME

FIRST NAME

2016 WINS

CAREER WINS

Wrenn

Pete

195

9792

Merriman

Aaron

866

8705

Miller

Brett

287

7399

Irvine Jr.

Don

148

7173

Pantaleano

Jim

294

6944

Widger

Sam

289

5571

Goodell

Eric

180

5351

Holliday

Ken

103

5351

Tharps

Randy

141

5124

Hall

Tony

342

5075

Gagnon

Guy

145

4689

Sutton

Josh

539

3825

Tetrick

Trace

463

3769

Wrenn Jr.

Ronnie

679

3647

Page

Chris

534

3572

Brewer

Jason

193

3425

Roberts

Jonathan

282

3299

Allard

Simon

298

2903

Miller

Marcus

298

2633

McNair

Doug

238

2543

Kauffman

Kayne

310

2508

Cummings Jr.

John

115

2399

Plante Jr.

Roger

152

2224

Smith

Tyler

285

2200

Carroll

Alfie

535

2172

Delong

John

374

1843

MacDonald

James

209

1581

Smith

Jeremy

293

1569

McClure

Bob

569

1423

Roland

Nick

132

1318

(With files from Miami Valley Raceway)

December 28, 2016 - 8:56 pmGo GUY Go

Mike Scott SAID...

Go GUY Go


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