The field for the 2014 Tioga/Vernon Drivers' Championship is taking form, with 2013 champion Jim Marohn Jr. poised to defend his title against some of the top drivers across North America.
"We are excited to unveil a new format for this annual event," said Jason Settlemoir, Regional Vice President of Racing at Tioga and Vernon Downs. "With top drivers from circuits across North America taking part, we're truly showcasing some of the best drivers in the world."
In addition to Marohn, top Meadowlands drivers Yannick Gingras, David Miller, and Tim Tetrick return to the Drivers' Championship. Jody Jamieson, the winner of this event in 2011 as well as the 2011 World Driving Championship, will represent the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit. The aforementioned quintet will be joined by newcomers Chris Lems (Vernon Downs), Scott Zeron (top driver aged 25 or younger), and Matt Kakaley (Harrah's Philadelphia/Pocono Downs). Corey Callahan, who represented the USA in the 2011 World Driving Championship en route to a second-place finish, has been named the sponsor's exemption, and will complete the field of nine.
The Championship kicks off on Friday, Aug. 29, at Vernon Downs, sharing the spotlight with the Zweig Memorial and Crawford Farms trotting events. The second round is slated for Monday, Sept. 1 at Tioga Downs, as part of the Cane Pace program. As in past years, the overall winner will take home a $25,000 check, and the leader after the first round will win $10,000. Second place overall earns a driver $5,000, while third place $4,000. No driver will leave with less than $1,500 in the two-day Championship.
All nine drivers will also be competing for a charity of their choice, with their 5% commission from their Championship drives going directly to charity. Tioga and Vernon Downs will match each driver's charity commission, as will Jeff Gural.
The Drivers' Championship is made possible thanks to the following sponsors: Allerage Farms, the Binghamton Mets, the Binghamton Senators, Bow River Jewelry, Bud Light, Cameo Hills, Ltd., Capital OTB, LP Ciminelli, Climans Green Liang Architects, Inc., Community Press, Coon & Sons, L. V. Harkness & Co., Ferris, Finn Tack, Global Graphics, The Horseman and Fair World, HUB International, Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, the Little Brown Jug, Maine Source Food & Party Warehouse, McCullagh Coffee Roasters, Roberts Communications Network, the Southern Tier Harness Horseman's Association, Tioga Downs, Tioga State Bank, V.I.P. Structures, Vernon Downs, and Winner's Choice Racing Programs. (by James Witherite/Tioga Downs)