Monday, October 4, 2010

Lewis to represent Australia in the World Driving Championship

Tioga Downs will be one of five host tracks in North America for the 2011 World Driving Championship. The world-class event includes 20 races from July 31-August 5, 2011. Today, Australia's representative for the event was announced. Here is the release courtesy of Harness Racing Australia:

Chris Lewis has been selected to represent Australia in the 2011 World Driving Championship, which will be conducted in the United States between July 31 and Aug. 5, 2011.

Lewis, who passed both the 4,000 career wins and 2,000 Perth wins milestones during 2010, has been the standout driver in Western Australia for the past 25 years.

A nominee for induction into the West Australian Racing Industry Hall of Fame later this year, he has won eight Perth drivers’ premierships. Only Hall of Famers Fred R. Kersley, with 17, and Frank Kersley, with 11, have won more. In addition, Lewis has recorded an unprecedented 27 successive top five finishes on the Perth premiership list between the 1983-84 and 2009-2010 seasons.

The World Driving Championship, which commenced in 1970, will bring together 10 of the world’s finest drivers from Europe, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the U.S.A., who will compete in a series of 20 races at five tracks -- Harrah’s Chester, Tioga Downs, Monticello Raceway, the Meadowlands and Yonkers Raceway.

Lewis became one of only four West Australians to win the national drivers’ title when he beat Victorian ace Chris Alford to claim Australia’s leading driver title, by wins, in 1995 with a then Australian record 211 winners.

He also has been among the top 10 Australian drivers, by wins, 17 times, and has driven 100 winners in a season on 22 separate occasions.

Lewis has driven a total of 40 Group I winners in races that include the Inter Dominion (in both South Australia and Queensland), the Western Australia Pacing Cup, Fremantle Cup, Western Australia Derby, Western Australia Oaks, Western Australia Golden Slipper Stakes, Australian Pacing Championship, M.H. Treuer Memorial, Australian Pacing Gold, Western Australia Golden Nugget Championship, Bathurst Gold Tiara, Harold Park Cup and Miracle Mile.

He is the only Western Australian reinsman to win at the Group I level in each of the five mainland states in Australia.

Lewis will be attempting to join Ted Demmler (1987) as the only Australian to win the World title, and will join Western Australia Hall of Famers Jim Schrader (1973 and 1979) and Fred Kersley (second to Maurice McKendry in 1991) as the only Western Australians to compete in the World Driving Championship.

Lewis has previously driven winners in both Russia and the United States, in addition to his Australian record.