Drivers Set For The Western Regional Driving Championship 

2024 Western Regional Driving Championship
Published: March 28, 2024 02:00 pm EDT

The Western Regional Driving Championship, the first of four regional events, kicks off the path to the 2024 National Driving Championship (NDC) in Trois-Rivières, Que., on July 5.

Standardbred Canada is pleased to confirm the following field of eight drivers for the Western Regional Driving Championship, which is set to take place on Saturday, May 11 at Century Downs Racetrack & Casino in Rocky View, Alta.

This is the fourth time the Western Regional Driving Championship has been hosted in Alberta; Alberta also hosted the National Driving Championship at Century Mile in Edmonton, in 2022.

Both Mike Hennessy and David Kelly represented the Western Region at the 2022 NDC, with Kelly finishing second behind the national champion, Doug McNair. In just over two weeks, eight drivers, including Hennessy and Kelly, will return to compete in the 2024 Western Regional Driving Championship. Among the eight drivers is first-time Regional Driving Championship competitor Blake Piwniuk.

"Century Downs is looking forward to hosting the 2024 Western Regional Driving Championship,” said Josh Murphy, Standardbred Canada Director and Assistant Racing Manager at Century Downs. “This is going to be a great event to showcase our racing product along with the eight talented drivers competing for a chance to go to the Nationals."

Drivers will receive points based on their finishing position. The first and second-place finishers from the eight-race competition will advance to the 2024 National Driving Championship, which is set to take place on Friday, July 5 at Hippodrome 3R in Trois-Rivières, Que. They will be joined by the two finalists from each of the other regional championships (Ontario, Quebec/Eastern Ontario, and Atlantic).

Invitations were extended to drivers based on racing criteria from their 2023 season up to Feb. 29, 2024. Additionally, drivers were required to confirm their availability for both the 2024 National Driving Championship and the 2025 World Driving Championship. 

The draw for the Western Regional will be facilitated by Standardbred Canada. The format will allow drivers to participate in selecting the horses they will drive.

First, there will be a draw to determine the order of the draft (first through eighth) for the first Western Regional race. A random number generator will then be used to determine the draw for the next seven races to ensure each driver has the opportunity to draw a first through eighth pick. Following the draft will be the post position draw to ensure that every driver drives from post one through eight for the competition.

The winner of the 2024 National Driving Championship will be invited to represent Canada in harness racing's 2025 World Driving Championship, hosted in New Zealand and Australia.

(Standardbred Canada)

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