Top Drivers Give Back At Clinton

Published: September 3, 2021 02:05 pm EDT

In the middle of Grand Circuit month at Woodbine Mohawk Park, five of Canada's leading drivers will make the trip to Clinton Raceway on Sunday (Sept. 5) for that oval’s annual Charity Drivers' Challenge.

Over the past 40 years, the event has raised in excess of $332,000 for a variety of community organisations in and around Clinton, and drivers from the province’s premier circuit have been an essential ingredient in its success.

“It’s been a good event for local charities, and it’s always had the same theme,” said Clinton Raceway’s general manager Ian Fleming. “We invite some drivers from out of town that people are familiar with from racing on the Woodbine circuit and then, this year it’s a little bit different, we’ve got our leading driver Travis Henry, and last year’s winner Brett MacDonald, and we’ve added in Natasha Day, who won the Ontario Women’s Driving title. It’s always a big day for us.”

Representing Woodbine Mohawk Park in the 41st annual Charity Drivers' Challenge are Trevor Henry, Bob McClure, Jody Jamieson, James MacDonald and Doug McNair. All are repeat participants in the event, and all but McClure have claimed at least one title, with Jamieson the ranking heavyweight at six wins.

“I think I’ve only missed one year, maybe two, in the last 20,” said Jamieson, who is currently ranked third in Canada, having driven his mounts to more than $2.5 million in earnings. “It’s always nice to give back and it’s always a nice day there. It’s fun to have a little competition.”

The drivers will accumulate points based on where they finish in the eight challenge races, and the top point earner will be declared the 2021 champion. The other big winner will be Branch 140 of the Royal Canadian Legion. Drivers typically receive 5 per cent of their mount’s purse earnings, but on Sunday, those fees will be donated to the Clinton Legion, along with the proceeds from a silent auction and 50-50 draw.

“I like raising money for the Legion. It’s a good cause, and I know this year of all years they are struggling more than ever, so it’s good to be able to chip in and help them out,” said McClure, who sits just behind Jamieson in the national driver’s standings and is the reigning Ontario Sires Stakes Lampman Cup champion. “It’s a fun day to be a part of and it’s a good cause too, so it certainly is not a burden to take a Sunday off to head down there and participate.”

James MacDonald currently leads all drivers in the country in both earnings and number of wins — more than $3.2 million and 156 — and also sits atop the OSS Lampman Cup point standings. He won the Clinton Raceway Charity Drivers' Challenge title in 2014 and said the event is always competitive in spite of its philanthropic purpose.

“You can’t do anything with these drivers without it being super competitive, so it’s a fun day and we get to raise some money for a good cause,” said MacDonald. “I love driver challenges and I think most of the drivers do. They love them until they’re not doing well and then they hate them, myself included.”

After the challenge wraps up, the drivers will have a second chance for success as Clinton Raceway hosts the fourth OSS Grassroots leg for two-year-old pacing colts.

Post time for the 41st annual Charity Drivers' Challenge this Sunday is 1:30 p.m. Fans can find more information, including a free program and live stream, on the Clinton Raceway website.

To view Sunday's complete entries, click the following link: Sunday Entries – Clinton Raceway.

(Clinton Raceway)