Miller marvels in "Champion Driver Series"

01:23 PM 20 Jul 2014 NZST
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LeWayne Miller and Stylish Rocket
LeWayne Miller and Stylish Rocket winning the final race of the 2014 Champion Driver Series
Linscott Photography

ANDERSON, Ind.-July 19, 2014 - Hoosier Park Racing & Casino's 2014 Champion Driver Series highlighted the 14-race harness racing card on Saturday, July 19 and it was Lewayne Miller who was crowned the winner to take home his share of the $5,000 prize. In its' inaugural edition, the 2014 Champion Driver Series pitted the top-ten drivers at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino against one another in a five-race challenge with the ten coveted spots being based upon wins at Hoosier Park.

As the youngest driver in the group of ten, Miller was able to overcome his sixth place rankings in the standings to accumulate the most points in the five races of the challenge and secure the win. In just his second full season a driver, Miller has recorded 238 career victories and proved a force to be reckoned with in the bike.

The 27-year-old, Indiana native earned two wins, one third, one fourth, and one ninth place finish during the five-race competition for a total of 47 points, beating out nine other Hoosier Park driving stars. Sam Widger finished second with 38 points followed by Andy Shetler finishing third with 37.5 points.

Miller kicked off the challenge with a fourth place finish with Rocknroll Special from post eight earning seven points while Brad Hanners and Lady's Man notched a victory for 15 points.

In the very next race of the challenge, Miller was able to utilize the long Hoosier Park stretch to get Pam Mater Mark home a winner at 12-1 in a lifetime best performance of 1:55.2. Hanners had Velocity Chip Shot well placed to finish second and earned 9 points. After the second race of the challenge, Hanners continued to lead all drivers with 24 points but Miller was closing in with 22 points.

With a third place finish behind Lyons Frank in the third leg of the challenge, Miller accumulated 8 more points and moved into the lead. Although he failed to hit the board in the fourth leg with Flight Request, Miller earned two points for his ninth place finish and was still atop the leader board, by a narrow margin, with 32 points. Ross Leonard moved into second place with 31 points after a win with Henry Blue Chip.

Miller clinched the trophy by turning a pocket trip into a victory in the final race of the challenge with Mike Wilson's Stylish Rocket in 1:52.2. It was the fourth win of the season and a lifetime best performance for Stylish Rocket.

"I had some nice horses and I got really lucky," Miller noted after the victory. "I felt confident about my picks coming into tonight but wasn't sure what to expect. I picked 6th in the draft and I was happy with that because I felt like I had a decent shot of getting some live horses rather than picking last in some of the races."

"The trips worked out and the horses showed up," he continued. "I'd like to thank the trainers and Hoosier Park for this opportunity, it feels great."

Miller will now aim to defend his title in the second series of the challenge slated for September 27 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. While the second challenge will be conducted in the same manner as the first challenge, the winner of the final challenge will be awarded a one-year lease of a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

"I think I would look pretty good driving that car," Miller noted with a smile. "Hopefully, things go my way and I have another night like I did tonight."

Live racing will return to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, July 22 with a 14-race card. The 160-day, all harness racing meet will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule with a daily post time of 5:15 p.m.

Emily Gaskin

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