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Bizarre Ending To Napolitano's Big Day

Published: August 16, 2015 11:52 pm ET

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George Napolitano Jr., the leading driver at both Harrah's Philadelphia and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono who is coming off a 100-win month in the sulky during July, won 10 races on Sunday to raise his count to 60 triumphs in the first 16 days of August. And we'll never know if he would have won an 11th on Sunday -- because a tractor got in the way.

Napolitano was red-hot at Philly to open the day, winning seven times while staying for only 11 races before leaving to make the almost-two-hour ride north to Pocono, where he won three more times to put him into double-digits.

'Nap' was to drive odds-on favourite Dream Rocker in the last race of the day. And then things turned from the sublime to the ridiculous (and thank goodness not serious).

Dream Rocker made the lead past the quarter, yielded to Broadways Fortune (Joe Pavia Jr.), and was just recorralling that one nearing the middle of the far turn when announcer Jim Beviglia gave the chilling call, "Drivers -- there's a tractor on the track -- be careful -- there's a tractor on the track," as one of the maintenance crew had guided his machine onto the surface a lap too early at headstretch.

Pavia, who upon examination of the replay appeared to see the tractor before his horse reached the three-quarters, can be clearly seen on the video turning and yelling a warning over his right shoulder, and everybody stacked wide to get around the unexpected impediment (except one driver who found it more expedient to make a left-hand turn into the infield with his charge). Napolitano and Dream Rocker went from two-wide with momentum to five-wide under caution, and in the end was nipped by Annies List and Tyler Buter -- to no practical effect, as the judges ruled that because of the outside mechanical interference, the race was being declared "no contest," with all mutuels refunded.

It was definitely a bizarre ending to a great day of driving by Napolitano, who now has 30 victories at each track in August.

(PHHA / Pocono)


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