Watkins Glen: A
Historical Racing Treasure
Deep in the Finger
Lakes region of New York state, Watkins Glen
is one of the most historical race tracks in
North America. Since its' first race October
2, 1948, the "Glen" as its' referred to still
remains a Mecca for the racing enthusiast.
Over the years Gran Prixs, Nascar races, SCCA
Nationals and many more important races were
run on this track.
the original 6.6 mile circuit that ran through
the city itself has now changed to a 3.4-mile
road course it still remains a magical place
to take in one of the many races held there
through out the year. We were lucky enough to
do just that at this year's Sports Car Grand
Prix. The six hour race proved to be as
exciting during the first hour as in the last.
The best part of this race was that the
duration allows for one to visit all areas of
the track and view the excitement from such
areas as the famous "toe of the boot". I found
all great viewing area to be accessible and
As an appetizer to
what great racing lies ahead the Saturday held
the Grand Am Cup Street Stock Series. This
racing series is the premier proving ground
for many of today's automobile manufacturers.
The series features production cars with only
minimal racing modifications to enhance safety
and performance. Typically, four classes of
race cars compete on the track at the same
time during the Grand-Am Cup event, with
drivers racing for top honors in their
specified class, as well as the overall win.
However, the Grand-Am Cup Twin 250s at The
Glen will split the series into two races
featuring two classes in each race.
the Grand Am Cup race, the Ferrari Challenge
race pits Ferrari against Ferrari in a "take
no prisoners" style action. While these cars
themselves are works of art they are driven to
their maximum potential by the drivers
involved. The myth that Ferraris are just
"garage queen" cars is shattered at the drop
of the green flag.
But besides the
race there is so much more in this tiny town
of Watkins Glen. The Seneca Lodge - described
as "rustic" is the place to hang your hat
after leaving the track. Don't bother ordering
a Manhatten - have a beer and let your hair
down - the embellished racing tales you'll
hear is the best entertainment .
also recommend taking the self guided tour of
the original Watkins Glen Grand Prix circuit.
Originally in ran through the street both
starting and finishing at the Schuyler County
Court House. At that time for the race to run
permits were necessary from six governmental
agencies including the railway to have the
trains stopped during the race since the
course drove over the railway tracks in a few
places. Small pamphlets that detail this tour
and the historical sections can be picked up
at many of the local businesses.
For information on
Watkins Glen - check out