Monticello, NY ---- The C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series kicks off its 33rd season at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday (April 27), followed by a contest at Freehold Raceway on May 3. Then, almost weekly, there will be races for amateur drivers at various racetracks through late November.
Again the Billings will be run under the auspices of the Delvin Miller Harness Drivers Association.
The series, which began in the early 1980s, is considered the Grand Circuit of Amateur Racing. Known for its constant traveling sideshow, over the years some of the best amateur drivers in North America compete, or have competed, in it.
“This year we are again going with the five separate series format. We believe it was well received by members new and old last year so we thought it a good idea to give it another whirl,” said Billings Series president Tony “the Capo” Verruso.
Verruso is referring to having five divisions of short series instead of having a seven-month, year-long event.
“The Eastern Regional and the Midwest Regional will each have two short series and there will also be a Travel Series. And each will have a series ending finale,” Verruso added.
“On the whole, participation was definitely up last racing season and we did also get some new quality members. Our goal this year is to continue that trend and we hope the new slot money being infused into Ohio will go a long way to rebuilding that driving base for us.”
Obviously, the eastern division will encompass racetracks in the east while the western division will feature races at tracks in the Midwest. There will be a travel division with events in both the East and Midwest and in early September two racetracks in Canada on Prince Edward Island will again host Billings events.
“The beauty of this format will allow everyone to race in any division. However, the points earned in each division will be calculated in that division only,” Verruso explained. “And the European Point System will again be used to tally each participant’s points.”
Again there will be Billings Gold and Silver Cup finals at the end of the season and they will take place at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Nov. 23.
As usual, only drivers can be nominated to the Billings Series; horses have to meet certain series criteria.
One can also get pertinent information on the Delvin Miller Harness Driving Series on the USTA website under amateur racing.
But remember, nominations by mail close on May 2. However, late nominations can always be made, but at an additional cost.