By John Manzi
Greg Merton is ready. So, too, is his brother Mike. The Merton brothers will be among eight drivers who will be competing in Monticello Raceway’s Munich Mile, an event restricted to drivers of German descent.
The Munich Mile will be the fifth leg of the Mighty M’s Heritage Drivers Series and is slated to go to post on Monday afternoon, July 30.
Greg Merton has been on fire in recent months and now is challenging Jimmy Taggart, Jr., Mike Forte and Jimmy Marohn, Jr. for leading driver honors. His 146 wins, one less than Taggart’s 147, ranks Merton second on the local leaderboard, five ahead of Forte’s total of 141 and seven more than Marohn’s total of 139.
Greg’s brother Mike Merton is also enjoying a good season in the sulky. He recently passed the 2,000-career win plateau and his 87 winners here are sixth best among the driving colony.
“I’ve gotten a few inquiries and even received some emails concerning Germany-native, Wim Paal, who raced with us in the New York Sire Stakes last week, saying that he might be interested in driving in our Munich Mile,” said Eric Warner the Mighty M’s director of racing. “We’d certainly love to have him.”
Another possible entrant might be Jordan Stratton who won this event twice. In 2008 Stratton became the youngest reinsman to ever win a Monticello Raceway driving title and has recently moved on to Yonkers Raceway where he is among the leading drivers there.
“Jordan said that if he’s available he’ll be back to drive in our Munich Mile,” Warner added. “However, I have confirmation from Peter Kleinhans, Keith Haase and Cory Stratton (Jordan’s younger brother), Greg Decker, Jr. and Jimmy Clouser. But we will still need a few more drivers to have a full field.”
Already in the books are four races for other nationalities whose winning driver is now eligible to compete in the series finale the All America Cup slated later this fall. Those drivers are: Bobby Williams, Jr. (Martin Luther King Pace for African-Americans); Lisa Krom (Lady Godiva Pace for women); Jimmy Taggart, Jr. (St. Paddy Pace for Irish Americans) and Alan Charles (Passover Pace for drivers of Jewish heritage).
Following the Munich Mile sometime in late August will be the Godfather Pace, a race for drivers of Italian descent. Later will be the Mayflower Mile, a race for drivers of British heritage and then one for drivers of Canadian descent which is known as the Maple Leaf Pace.