Watkins Glen to celebrate 60 years
Road racing at Watkins Glen has been a tradition in upstate N.Y. ever since, October 2, 1948, “The Day They Stopped the Trains” for the first post-World War II road race in the United States. Each year the Grand Prix Festival, held in conjunction with the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, pays tribute to the first road race by hosting a race reenactment in the village. This has become a tradition that is enjoyed by motorsports enthusiasts from around the country. In 2008, Watkins Glen International will be honoring their diamond anniversary and 60 years of road-racing. The celebration is expected to begin on Opening Day at the track, April 27, and will last until the season’s finale during the country’s largest vintage racing event the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, September 5-7.
The Glen from the air
“We are extremely proud of our motorsports heritage and the opportunity to celebrate 60 years is an outstanding accomplishment,” stated Craig Rust, President of Watkins Glen International. “The Glen has had the privilege of hosting virtually every major racing series in the world covering all forms of motorsports throughout our storied history, and we will strive to continue our leadership role in American road racing.”
Watkins Glen International is set to host eight event weekends in 2008 beginning with Opening Day on April 27, marking the advance sale deadline for all race weekend tickets. Fans can once again take on the twists and turns of the famed road course in their own vehicles, or take a ride in a pace car. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a NASCAR Foundation supported charity.
The first racing action will take place June 6-8 during the 27th running of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series weekend. The long-standing sports car race will run on Saturday, June 7 and be joined, this year, by the NASCAR Busch East Series on Sunday, June 8. The NASCAR Busch East Series, previously called the NASCAR Grand National Division Busch North Series, ran at Watkins Glen International from 1993 - 2004. Brad Leighton of Center Harbor New Hampshire, is the most recent defending champion, winning the 2004 Mohegan Sun 150. The pole was won that year by three-time Glen winner, Andy Santerre.
“Every year we evaluate our schedule and try to add or grow events for our fans,” stated Rust. “We know that the Busch East Series has dedicated fans in the North East, so we think that the addition of this race, is the right fit for our track during an already exciting weekend.”
The next big event of the 2008 season takes place on the Fourth of July weekend, when the IndyCar Series comes back to The Soul of American Road Racing during the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen. The track will celebrate the nation’s independence all weekend starting with the Friday Night Block Party on the 4th, including bands on the Red Cat Summer Stage, a huge fireworks display, carnival food, kids rides, games and more. The Indy Pro Series, Penn Grade 1 Historic Grand Prix and Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series will also take on the historic 3.4-mile long course – marking five races in one weekend.
In 2008, the Centurion Boats at The Glen is back on its traditional August race weekend. The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will turn left and right at The Glen, August 7-10. Fans can see the stars of the Centurion Boats at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series challenge the famed 2.45-mile track on Sunday, August 10 and the NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 on Saturday, August 9. The weekend action kicks-off as the Daytona Prototypes of the Grand-Am Rolex Series make their second appearance at The Glen on Friday, August 8 for the Crown Royal 200.
The Historic Sportscar Racing weekend will also return to The Glen in 2008, June 13-15. The event will once again be open to the public and will feature some of racing’s most historic sports cars.
The SCCA Glen Nationals, the longest-running event at The Glen, returns July 12-13, followed immediately by the East Coast’s largest showcase of New York state wines, the Finger Lakes Wine Festival, July 18-20. The event features over 80 wineries from around the region, pouring over 600 different wines combined with some of the area’s best arts & crafts, food, music, culinary classes and cooking demonstrations.
The 2008 season will close with the traditional season finale – the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, September 7-9. This event will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of road racing in The Glen and includes the Grand Prix Festival race reenactment on the village streets of Watkins Glen on Friday evening. The weekend continues to be the largest vintage racing event in the country featuring historic cars of the past from as far back as the 1930’s. The weekend’s featured marques will be Triumph, Formula 5000 and the 50th Anniversary of Lola. The honored guest will be announced at a later date.
Tickets for the entire 2008 season will go on sale December 1. For tickets and information, please contact the Watkins Glen ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official Watkins Glen website at www.TheGlen.com.
2008 Schedule of Events:
Opening Day April 27
27th Running of The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen June 6-8
Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series (Saturday)
NASCAR Busch East Series (Sunday)
*Other support races TBA
Watkins Glen Historics June 13-15
Historic Sports Car Racing
Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen July 4-6
IndyCar Series (Sunday)
IndyPro Series (two races - Saturday)
Penn Grade 1 Historic Grand Prix (Sunday)
Grand Am-KONI Challenge (Saturday)
SCCA Glen Nationals July 12-13
Finger Lakes Wine Festival July 18-20
Yancey’s Fancy Launch of the Lakes (Friday Evening)
Centurion Boats at The Glen August 7-10
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Sunday)
(Sprint Cup qualifying – Friday)
Zippo 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series (Saturday)
Crown Royal 200 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series (Friday)
U.S. Vintage Grand Prix September 5-7
Grand Prix Festival in the village (Friday)
Chemung Canal Trust Antique Auto Show (Saturday)