The road to the 2018 National Driving Championship (NDC) scheduled at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, September 26 will kick off with the Ontario Regional Driving Championship, the first of four regional events.
Standardbred Canada is pleased to confirm the field of nine drivers for the Ontario Regional Driving Championship scheduled for Wednesday, May 16 at The Raceway at Western Fair District in London, Ontario.
The following drivers will be participating in the Ontario Regional Driving Championship:
The 2018 event will mark the fourth time that The Raceway has been the venue for the Ontario Regional Driving Championship. They also hosted the National Driving Championship in 2016.
“We are proud to host the Ontario Regional Championship for the fourth time,” said Greg Blanchard, the track’s Director of Racing. “So many of Canada’s top drivers are here in Ontario and this is another exceptional group that we’ve assembled. We look forward to them putting on a great show for the fans.”
Invitations were extended to drivers based on several criteria including their 2017 win statistics in relation to their driving circuit, ability to be an outstanding Canadian harness racing ambassador and availability for the 2018 National Driving Championship and 2019 World Driving Championship.
The field includes five of the leading drivers from the Woodbine Entertainment circuit and the remaining four drivers are the next leaders overall in the 2017 Ontario win standings.
The nine drivers will participate in nine competition races. Each race will have a field of eight and each driver will compete in eight races, drive from every post position, and sit out for one race.
Drivers will receive points based on their finishing position and the top two drivers from the nine-race competition will join six other drivers at the 2018 National Driving Championship (NDC) at Grand River Raceway.
The winner of the 2018 NDC will have the opportunity to represent Canada in the WDC, and join 2017 World Driving Champion, James MacDonald, in the 2019 WDC in Sweden.
Here are the locations and dates for the four regional events (in chronological order):
► Ontario Regional (Includes drivers from Ontario)
The Raceway at Western Fair District — Wednesday, May 16
► Western Regional (Includes drivers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba)
Century Downs — Saturday, June 23
► Atlantic Regional (Includes drivers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island)
Truro Raceway — Friday, June 29
► Quebec / Eastern Ontario Regional (Includes drivers that compete regularly at Kawartha Downs and Rideau Carleton Raceway in addition to Hippodrome 3R)
Kawartha Downs — Saturday, June 30
Regional events will feature either eight or nine drivers who will compete in a minimum of eight races. Drivers will receive points based on their finishing position and the top two point earners will advance to the National.