Day At The Track

Aaron Merriman voted USHWA Driver of the Year

07:08 AM 28 Dec 2018 NZDT
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Aaron Merriman, harness racing
Aaron Merriman was voted by USHWA as the 2018 Driver of the Year
USTA photo

HARRISBURG, PA - Aaron Merriman, the first driver to win over 1000 races in two consecutive years and set to post the second-highest one-season victory total in North American history, has been selected as Driver of the Year in a vote among members of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's leading media group.

Merriman is only 40 years old, but he is already a "veteran" of 20+ years of the sulky wars, learning from his father Lanny, mostly at Northfield Park near Cleveland. He had 182 winners in 2000, his first year of full-time exposure, but he has been gaining with every step, with 10,857 victories in the 21st century and 6926 visits to Victory Lane in the first nine years of the this decade.

Merriman will post the second-highest win total for a driver in harness racing history, behind only Tim Tetrick's standard of 1189 in 2007; Aaron was at 1118 after Wednesday's racing. This total eclipses his personal best of 1093, taken last year, and this year he has reached another important milestone with his mounts earning over $10.3 million - his first eight-figure season.

And the level of competition Aaron faces at the main terminals of his endless miles on the road is very high - at Northfield, he consistently races against Ron Wrenn Jr., who was the last person to dethrone him for the national title (2014, by a 847-841 count), and at The Meadows near Pittsburgh he competes against Dave Palone, the winningest driver of all-time (18,640 and counting), and the leading pilot at The Meadows since shortly after high-wheeled sulkies went out of fashion, so it seems.

Reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA’s website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel’s computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers’ website). Information about purchasing tickets for the dinner will become available and will be posted shortly.

From the United States Harness Writers Association

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