It didn’t take long for a trio of newcomers to make their presence felt in the new season, as newcomers Billy Dobson, Fern Paquet, Jr. and Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. each picked up a victory on the opening night program. Veteran Saratoga reinsmen Mark Beckwith, who typically competes at Buffalo in the winter months, posted two victories on the card.
Dobson, a Michigan native, has been the leading driver at Saratoga Raceway in each of the last three seasons and has opted to spend the first part of 2013 as a Buffalo regular.
“I plan to be at Buffalo every night until Saratoga opens back up in early March,” Dobson said. “I decided to come here and give it a try with the good purse money, and the tracks in the city (Meadowlands and Yonkers) are typically overloaded with drivers this time of year.”
Wrenn, also a Michigan native, has enjoyed huge success in his home state over the last several years and has since branched out to enjoy being on or near the top of driver standings at Northfield Park and Running Aces over the last several months.
“I look forward to coming up on Wednesdays to drive at Buffalo and might try to add weekends later on down the road,” Wrenn stated.
Another newcomer planning to ply his trade locally this season is Greg Merton, who fans will recognize quickly as one of the perennial top guns at Monticello Raceway, where he finished as the leading percentage driver in 2012.
“I am going to continue to race at Monticello Monday through Thursday and I plan to race at Buffalo Raceway on Fridays and Saturdays as long as I can continue to get work,” Merton explained. Merton has been called upon by the barns of David Sabatelli and John Mungillo as part of his opening weekend driving duties.
Yet another newcomer slated to make his career debut at Buffalo Raceway in 2013 is 19-year-old Tyler Smith of Ohio, who plans to spend his Saturday nights locally to start the new year. One of the brightest young stars in the industry, Smith has been piling up victories in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio over the last couple of seasons, leaving him less than 300 victories shy of becoming the youngest driver in history to reach 1,000 wins.
He has just more than a year to accomplish the amazing feat, a mark currently held by Canada’s Doug McNair. Although he is programmed to compete on the first Saturday night card Smith noted a licensing issue would keep him out of action for the first week, but he expects things to fall in place by the second Saturday of action.
Not only will the new faces find stiff competition on the track from one another, they will have to contend with a veteran driving colony that have called Buffalo Raceway home in the past.
Live racing will continue at Buffalo Raceway each Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Post time on Wednesday is at 5 p.m., eastern, and features a $5,000 (guar.) Pick-4. Friday and Saturday evening post time is at 6:40 p.m., eastern.