Watkins Glen, NASCAR ready for weather

Watkins Glen International is ready for any kind of weather.

A week after 10 fans were injured by lightning strikes at Pocono

Raceway, one of them fatally, WGI president Michael Printup said

his staff has been drilled repeatedly on what to do in case of a

storm.

”All of our emergency action plans we review with NASCAR prior

(to a race),” Printup said Friday. ”We’ve been doing it for

years, and to be honest I’m really sensitive to it. I was in

California (in 1999) when (IndyCar driver) Greg Moore died. You

have to be on your toes. Unfortunately, there’s tragedies that do

happen in this sport, so I’ve been hyper-sensitive to it.”

Printup said he walks his staff through dry runs of all kinds of

scenarios. ”We practice,” he said. ”We know what to do.”

Printup said there are more than 30 police cruisers with

loudspeakers and nine big-screen televisions to warn fans. His

staff also has text message availabilities to warn fans of

impending danger.”All of this stuff helps to transmit signals

because that’s what you have to do,” Printup said. ”You have to

communicate, and you have to communicate fast. You have to take

personal ownership of your protection, and everybody has to

understand that.”

Several violent thunderstorms moved through the Watkins Glen

area Thursday night and rain forced NASCAR to curtail Sprint Cup

practice on Friday. The Cup cars finally made it onto the track

just after 4:30 p.m., though the Nationwide Series practiced in the

rain on rain tires.