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Field set for Aug. 2 Drivers Championship at Tioga

July 28, 2009
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The field for the 2009 third annual Drivers' Championship at Tioga Downs has been set, and the nine drivers have confirmed that they will all be on hand on Sunday, Aug. 2. The field, in order of 2009 money winnings, is as follows: Tim Tetrick, Jason Bartlett, Ron Pierce, Brian Sears, Dave Palone, Jody Jamieson and Andy Miller. Yannick Gingrass will be the 2009 sponsor's exemption, and rounding out the field is Tioga Downs' leading driver, Jimmy Marohn Jr.
 
Gingras, the back-to-back defending contest champion, is eighth on the money list by less than $30,000 and has been selected to once again compete. In 2009 Gingras will be looking for the “turkey” as in 2007 he was co-champion with Sears and in 2008 he won it outright. Marohn will be competing in his first drivers' championship.
 
The nine drivers have banked an astonishing $574,610,432 in career earnings and have driven 49,899 horses to the winner's circle. Pierce leads the career earnings category with more than $150 million in his career, while Palone leads the list of drivers in the win column with 13,179. Six of the nine drivers competing are leading drivers at their respective tracks including: Tetrick (Harrah’s Chester); Bartlett (Yonkers Raceway); Sears (Meadowlands); Palone (The Meadows); Jamieson (Woodbine/Mohawk); and Marohn (Tioga Downs).

This is a competition for the elite drivers in all of North America battling for $43,000 in prize money on one afternoon. The winner of the Championship will walk away with $25,000, the amount they would receive for winning a $1 million race, a brand new set of Nitro Wheels donated by Nitro Wheels, and a 14kt gold ring from Bow River Jewelry commemorating their victory in the 2009 Drivers' Championship.

Aug. 2 is also the date of the Yannick Gingras bobblehead giveaway beginning at 12 p.m. on the trackside apron. Gingras will be on hand to sign the bobbleheads and answer any questions that fans may have.

Tioga would like to thank its 2009 Drivers' Championship sponsors for all of their support: Allerage Farms, All Events Engraving, Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supplies, Bow River Jewelry, CGL, Community Press Paper, Delaware County Fair, Horsemen and Fair World, HHBNYS, Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, LP Ciminelli, L.V. Harkness & Company, Maine Source, Nitro Wheels, NTRA, Oneida Print Shop, Roberts Communication Network, STHHA, Tioga Downs, Towne Law Office, VIP Structures, Winbak Farm and Youth Beats.

Purses for Sunday, Aug. 2, have been raised 20 percent thanks to an agreement between the STHHA and Tioga Downs. Horses finishing sixth through ninth in the Drivers' Championship will receive $100 for their participation in the event.

The nine drivers have been asked to donate their five percent earned during their drives in the competition races to charities. The two charities selected for 2009 are the HTA Scholarship Fund and the Sara Strope Memorial Fundraiser.

The Sara Strope Memorial Fundraiser is for a local mother who recently lost her 12-year old daughter Sara unexpectedly. Being a single mother she is faced with thousands of dollars in financial obligations between the funeral costs and medical costs. The five percent donated from the drivers on Sunday will be matched by Tioga Downs, and Jeffrey Gural, chairman of American Racing and Entertainment, which owns Tioga Downs, will also personally match that amount.

“This year we have asked all nine drivers to donate their five percent for the drivers' championship races to two charities, half to the HTA Scholarship Fund, and the other half to a local cause in the Sara Strope Memorial Fundraiser. These are two great fundraisers that we are proud to be partnered with for the 2009 Drivers' Championship. No one should have to go through the loss of a child, and we hope the donation will be able to help the Strope family out in a difficult time,” said Jason Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast.

A committee has been formed to help the Strope Family pay for their medical and funeral costs and they are hosting a “Sara’s Day” at the Riverside Park in Sayre, Pa., on Saturday, Aug. 15. More information can be found on Facebook, Sara’s Day. (Tioga Downs)

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