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Drivers Set For Vernon/Meadowlands Challenge

Published: August 6, 2012 2:30 pm ET

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The drivers for this year's Vernon/Meadowlands Drivers' Championship have been finalized.

This year’s competition begins on closing night at The Meadowlands -- Friday, August 17. The participants will be available for a fan meet and greet as well as an autograph session on the apron beginning at 6 p.m.

Formerly held at Tioga Downs, the Drivers’ Championship final moves to Vernon Downs this year on Sunday, August 26 where the entire weekend of racing is designed to be a recreation of the NY State Fair experience of years gone by.

Here is a look at the drivers competing in this year's competition, based on money earnings:

Tim Tetrick – $9,593,348
The “Bionic Man” has a remarkable lead of nearly $3 million in earnings this year for the Drivers’ Championship. Tetrick added over $1.2 million to his total on Saturday’s Meadowlands’ card including his first victory in the Hambletonian with Market Share. This marks six consecutive years that Tetrick will participate in the Drivers’ Championship.

Yannick Gingras – $6,598,005
The “Green Hornet”, a comfortable second in North American earnings, is enjoying a sensational year with top mount A Rocknroll Dance, who captured the 2012 Meadowlands Pace. Gingras has captured the Drivers’ Championship on two previous occasions as he endeavors to add a third trophy to his case.

George Brennan – $5,974,965
The “Minister of Speed” has once again kept himself near the top of the money standings in North America with a solid year. Stakes highlights thus far in 2012 have come with top free for all pacer Betterthancheddar, who captured the Ben Franklin and Des Smith.

Ron Pierce – $5,965,542
“Rockin Ronnie” Pierce has competed in every Drivers’ Championship held at Tioga Downs, and will be headed to Vernon Downs. He avenged past struggles in Drivers’ Championship events by taking home the grand prize in the 2011 Harrah's Chester Driving Challenge.

David Miller – $5,825,512
Back on the roster after missing the cut for the Drivers’ Championship in 2009 and 2010, The “Buckeye” will make his second straight appearance in 2012. Miller orchestrated a huge upset in the Hambletonian Oaks with Personal Style at 55-1 to secure a spot in the field of nine.

Brian Sears – $5,625,577
The “White Knight” has competed in all of the Drivers’ Championships held at Tioga Downs in years past and will once again compete for the $25,000 grand prize. Perhaps Vernon’s favourite son will annex his second Drivers’ Championship in front of the hometown fans.

David Palone – $4,965,497
Long reigning “Dash King” at The Meadows, Palone made headlines early this year in his quest to surpass Herve Filion as North America’s all-time dash winning driver with over 15,000 trips to the charmed circle. He has been The Meadows' leading driver for an astounding 23 consecutive years. This season’s big horse for Dave is Sweet Lou, a top three-year-old pacing colt trained by Ron Burke.

Jim Morrill Jr. – $4,166,806
Despite only competing at Vernon Downs on the stakes circuit, Morrill has had so much success that he is the leading money winning driver at Vernon in 2012. He will be competing in the 2012 Drivers’ Championship representing Vernon Downs’ leading driver and competing in his first ever Drivers’ Championship.

Jody Jamieson – $4,891,464
Canada’s superstar Jody Jamieson has been selected as the 2012 Sponsor’s exemption by American Racing and Entertainment. The defending Drivers Challenge champion has had great success in 2012 with mounts such as Mister Herbie, Knows Nothing, and Big McDeal. Vernon Downs’ will also be honouring Jamieson on Drivers’ Championship day with a Jody Jamieson Bobblehead giveaway (while supplies last).

(With files from Vernon Downs)


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