You have to start somewhere

You have to start somewhere

May 21, 2021

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by Bob Heyden

No matter how successful a driver you become, there’s always that first season — usually at age 16 or 17 with a few fair starts here and there. Like your high school freshman yearbook photo, there’s always someone who will remind you of it from time to time. Here’s a look at the best of the best and that (forgettable?) first-year total.

John Campbell 1972 — 42 7-5-4 .302 $4,947 It sure didn’t look like he was only 15 years from the new all-time earnings total at this point.
David Miller 1981 — 30 4-2-2 .193 $1,891 He turned 17 in December of 1981. Forty years later he is the active money leader.
Tim Tetrick 1998 — 20 1-6-6 .317 $5,032. He turned 17 in late-November of that year.
Ron Pierce 1975 — 1 0-0-0 .000 $0. Hey, it counts.
Brian Sears 1984 — 11 1-2-1 .222 $1,812.
Mike Lachance 1968 — 155 19-15-20 .230 $24,007.
Cat Manzi 1968 — 6 0-1-1 .148 $362. The busiest driver of all time (95,000 plus drives) wasn’t that active his first year.
Jack Moiseyev 1976 — 3 0-0-2 .220 $1,083. Fifteen years later he would lead in wins and earnings in 1991.
Yannick Gingras 1998 — 23 3-2-6 .266 $12,036.
Andy Miller 1985 — 16 0-1-1 .056 $430.
Tony Morgan 1973 — 13 0-1-1 .068 $204.
George Brennan 1981 — 1-0-0-0 $50.
Luc Ouellette 1984 — 1 0-0-0 $0.
Bill O’Donnell 1970-1971 (first two years the same) — 1 0-0-0 $0.
Jim Doherty 1959 — 29 3-5-1 .211 $586 (That is less than $21 per drive).
Dave Palone 1982 — 14 0-4-1 .193 $1,955 (He was training at a strong UTRS for most of the ’80s).
Bill Fahy 1970 — 10 1-1-3 .256 $253.
Ron Waples 1966 — 14 6-2-2 .556$1,816. Check out that UDRS! It was all downhill from there.
Bruce Ranger 1978 — 6 0-0-0 $0. Did anyone have 13 wins on one card for Bruce Ranger 31 years later in the pool?
Peter Wrenn 1978 — 16 3-1-3 .278 $1,197.
Dave Magee 1973 — 21 2-1-4 .185 $704.
Wally Hennessey 1976 — 46 4-4-4 .143 $1,560.
Buddy Gilmour 1952 — 129 18-10-14 .219 $13,567.

Big Ticket Bates

Brandon Bates at Harrah’s Hoosier Park recorded memorable back to back nights at Hoosier Park on May 14-15 with five wins on each card. On Saturday, he won the first four then was only in one of the next five races with a 20-1 ML horse.

His average win price for the 10 wins was $16.10! And, get this, one each night he won with at least one betting favorite and at least one longest shot in the field. Go ahead, look that one up at your local track-and try and find a driver — any driver — who has done this on consecutive evenings.

Canadian lifers

Keith Waples was in the Hall Of Fame for an amazing 47 years before his recent death. The only driver to be alive and be a Hall of Famer for more than half his life was Herve Filion, who spent the last 42 of his 77 years as an inductee. John Campbell will hit 50 per cent in 2025, at which point the all-time money leader will be 35 of 70 having gone in at age 35 in 1991. And guess who Campbell wrestled the all-time earnings lead away from back in 1987? Herve Filion. All three were born in Canada.

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