Dillander wins Hoosier contest, off to Hawaii
October 19, 2015
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The second and final round of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino's 2015 Champion Driver Series highlighted the 14-race card on Saturday and it was Jason Dillander who raced away with top honors, winning a Hawaiian excursion for four, a prize valued at $15,000. Not only was it a race to the islands but also a race to the finish as Dillander narrowly won the final round of the challenge by one point over Sam Widger.
In its second year, the 2015 Champion Driver Series placed the top 10 drivers at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino against one another in a five-race challenge not once, but twice, throughout the season. Dillander, a 39-year-old Kentucky native, accumulated a total of 32 points and finished fourth in round 1 of the challenge held on July 25.
With the points from round 1 carrying over to round 2, Dillander earned a total of 69 points in round two to secure the win over Sam Widger who finished second with 68 points. LeWayne Miller, the 2014 Champion Driver Series winner, finished third in the final round with a total of 67 points.
Although Dillander did not find the winner's circle in any of the five races in the challenge, he earned two second-place finishes, one fourth and two fifth-place finishes to secure the victory. With a second, a fifth and a fourth-place finish in the first three races of the challenge, Dillander had earned 54 points and was fourth in the standings heading into the fourth leg.
After a second-place finish behind Meersburg in the fourth race of the challenge, Dillander accumulated nine more points and moved into third place in the standings with 63 going into the final race. Widger led all challengers with 67 points and Miller was a close second with 64. When the final race of the challenge hit the track, it appeared to be anyone's game.
Dillander secured his trip to Hawaii with a fifth-place finish in the final race, earning six more points, behind Greystone Moe for trainer Joe Cirasuola. Greystone Moe and Dillander rallied late in the lane but couldn't catch winners Ra Ra Steven and John DeLong. Dillander's six points were just enough to push him past Widger and into the lead by one point for the win.
"I had no idea I won,” Dillander noted in the winner's circle. "It was really close going into the last race and it was a competitive group of horses so I wasn't sure how it would turn out.
"I felt good about my horses coming into tonight but all of these races were really competitive so I knew it would be tough,” he continued. "We are always competitive but this was a little different, we had a lot of fun with it.”
Dillander called the Chicago racing circuit home for a number of years before venturing to Hoosier Park in 2008 where he has been a mainstay atop the leading driver standings nearly every year since. Now in his 18th season as a driver, Dillander is back in the bike in 2015 after a racing injury sidelined him for much of the 2014 season. Dillander celebrated his 2,000th career win at Hoosier Park in 2013 and is approaching $20 million in career purse earnings. (Hoosier Park)