by john manzi for NAADA
Formed in the early 1980’s on heels of the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) has long afforded both men and women the opportunity to test their skills in racing action. And since their inceptions the growing amateur movement has spawned various amateur clubs which, over the years, were starting venues for many successful professionals racing today, including the likes of George Brennan, Jordan Stratton, Joe Bongiorno, Greg Merton and Jimmy Taggart, Jr., to mention a few.
Although amateur racing didn’t immediately become an integral part of the Standardbred scene, in recent years it has been one of the sport’s bright spots. And today, not only do many race tracks depend on the amateur races to help fill their racing cards, but the movement has introduced new members who support the industry by purchasing horses and hiring professional trainers.
After decades of producing events for amateur drivers beginning Thursday, March 16 and continuing weekly through May 11 the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) will launch its annual Spring Trotting Series which will offer races at both Monticello and Yonkers Raceways.
The events will kick-off at the Sullivan County (NY) oval on Thursday, March 16 followed by action at Yonkers Hilltop oval on March 23. Racing at those venues will continue on consecutive Thursdays through May 4 culminating in a $15,000 Final at Yonkers on May 11 for the drivers who earned the most points in the preliminary legs.
At Monticello the participating amateur drivers will race weekly for $4500 purses while at Yonkers participating members will vie for $6000 purses. However, should it fill, the Monticello Raceway final will be contested on Wednesday, May 10 and compete for a purse of $5000.
The series is open to all amateur drivers as long as they become members of NAADA. Membership fee is $150 per calendar year.