Watkins Glen Fast Facts: Finding Success In Upstate New York
Watkins Glen International is one of America's premier road-course facilities, but the road to success was filled with many bumps.
Here are some facts that you may not know about the 11-turn track in Upstate New York.
• Law student Cameron Argetsinger's dream of bringing European style competition to the small village of Watkins Glen became a reality on October 2, 1948 - "The Day They Stopped the Trains." Argetsinger and the village hosted the first post-World War II road race in America.
• For five years, the top names in American sports car racing visited the small village. The races were a huge hit, bringing in fans from all across the country.
• Competition moved to a temporary course in 1953, before a permanent facility was opened in 1956 - which is now known as Watkins Glen International.
• In 1957, The Glen hosted its first professional race - a NASCAR Grand National Stock Car event won by Buck Baker.
• International competition would begin in 1958 with the running of a Formula Libre race.
• Formula 1 would begin racing at The Glen in 1961. The inaugural Watkins Glen U.S. Grand Prix was won by Innes Ireland.
• After a six-year absence, NASCAR returned to The Glen in 1964 and 1965.
• The circuit itself was expanded in 1971 and would bring a wide variety of competition to The Glen, including CART Indy Car Series and Formula 5000.
• In 1980, the track took a major financial hit and would lose its Formula 1 race. As a result, the bankrupt track closed the following year.
• Corning Enterprises, a newly-chartered subsidiary of Corning Glass Works, purchased the track in 1983 and formed a partnership with International Speedway Corporation, forming Watkins Glen International.
• The Glen reopened on July 7, 1984.
• 1986 would mark the return of NASCAR at The Glen. Since then, the track has hosted one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race each year.
• NASCAR now races on the 2.45-mile road-course with a variety of banking in the 11 different turns, ranging from 6 to 10 degrees.
• The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at The Glen this weekend will be the largest weekend sporting event in New York.
• And in case you were wondering, Watkins Glen International has a greater economic impact than the Buffalo Bills.