Napolitano enjoying unparalleled success in 2010
from Harrah’s Chester publicity department
Eight days ago, George Napolitano, Jr. scored his 300th driving win of the season at Harrah’s Chester Casino and Racetrack aboard This Dragon Dances in a $10,000 claiming pace. Not only has he virtually guaranteed himself back-to-back driving titles at the greater Philadelphia paceway, but he’s locked up the driving title at Pocono Downs as well with 309 wins as of October 30.
If his dominance at both eastern Pennsylvania tracks wasn’t enough, he leads North America with 680 driving wins and is 12th in purse earnings, having driven the winners of over $6.8 million in 2010.
“My goal was to do the best I can and go from there,” said Napolitano. “It’s hard to stay healthy and happy through the whole season. It’s tough when you race a lot of races; your body gets tired.”
While recent driving champions Tim Tetrick, Tony Morgan, and Jody Jamieson may have pared back their schedules somewhat—taking the occasional day off and limiting doubleheaders—Napolitano seems to thrive on the frantic schedule and constant travel of a 105-mile section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension, linking Harrah’s Chester and Pocono Downs and making for convenient doubleheaders for Napolitano on Wednesdays and Fridays.
“When I saw I had the title for Pocono, Chester, and the country, I figured, why not go for it, it’s a once in a lifetime thing,” continued Napolitano. “It was something that just bumped up my energy level a little higher.”
Though Napolitano—a fan favorite at Chester known for his aggressive and active driving style—is at the height of his success as a catch-driver, he’s quick to acknowledge others whose behind-the-scenes contributions complement his on-track results: “You’ve got to have a great support system. My wife—she’s very good to me. It’s not easy to do doubleheaders, come home late, but she’s been very supportive.” In fact, Napolitano’s wife Kathleen owns This Dragon Dances, the always tough $10,000 claimer that brought George his 200th and 300th wins at Chester this season.
“Lou (Peña), Carmine (Fusco), and Ken (Rucker) have been a blessing,” Napolitano went on. “Being able to drive for them has been a real blessing this year.”
As for what 2011 holds, Napolitano remains cautiously optimistic, but very much in the present. He plans to spend the winter at Pompano Park in Florida before returning to the Chester/Pocono circuit in the spring.
“I’m just happy for today,” concluded Napolitano. “I try not to look too far ahead; who knows what tomorrow’s going to bring?”