Watkins Glen pit facelift complete
The first cars of the season hit the twists and turns of historic Watkins Glen International on Monday, April 21, but a loud rumbling has been coming from The Glen for the past several weeks. The noise emanating from The Soul of American Road Racing has been the sounds of man and machine working on improvements to pit road and construction of a new state-of-the-art Media Center. The pit road project was completed on Friday, April 18 and the Media Center is still on schedule to be completed in May.
Ever since the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series came to The Glen in 1986, teams have been sharing pit boxes. The historic road course has added additional boxes since that time, but was limited to building a total of 41 due to the placement of the old Press Tower which was in front of pit road. This all changed when funds to build a new Media Center were approved in September 2007 and the subsequent demolition of the Press Tower two months later. The sudden increase in available space made it possible for changes to be made to pit road; the most noteworthy being the addition of two new pit boxes to bring the total to 43. This will allow every team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to have their own pit box and will also provide additional space for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series when both the Daytona Prototypes and GT class compete during the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, June 6-8.
The clearing of the area for the new pit boxes began immediately following the demolition of the Press Tower. The grass and concrete that surrounded the old structure were removed and then work on the project stopped with the onset of winter. Work resumed in mid-March with the extension of the pit wall. Once this was completed, concrete was poured for the new pit boxes and this was followed by the laying of dirt, binder, and then asphalt to make up the area behind the pit wall for the pit crews. The new boxes cover a total of 4,000 square feet and are located on the site of the old Press Tower.
The changes on pit road and the work on the pit wall allowed for the widening of the space that allows cars to enter the pits from the garage area. The old space was 30 feet in length and it has now been doubled to a total of 60 feet which should allow cars to enter and exit pit road at the same time.
The construction of the new Media Center began on December 12, 2007 and crews worked on the project through the winter. The new two-story building will have over 17,000 square feet of space and provide plenty of room to host the hundreds of media and series officials that visit the track over the course of the season. The design also makes the Media Center a multi-use building with a meeting room, lounge area, and food preparation room on the 2nd floor. These areas will be able to be used by driving schools and car clubs that rent the facility and play host to the culinary classes and wine seminars during the Finger Lakes Wine Festival presented by Yancey’s Fancy New York’s Artisan Cheese.
These two projects are just the latest in an ongoing series of major capital improvements over the past four years that have included track repaving in 2006, a new grandstand along the front stretch in 2005, an upgrade to the garage and an improved water and sewer system that included the additions of showers in the campground from 2003 to 2004.
Tickets for the historic 60th Anniversary Season at Watkins Glen International are on-sale now! This year the season kicks-off with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, June 6-7 paired with the NASCAR Camping World Series’ East Division on Sunday, June 8. General admission tickets for Kids 12 and under are FREE during the June 6-8 and July 4-6 event weekends when accompanied by an adult. Open-wheel racing returns for the 4th of July weekend during the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen, July 4-6, and the Centurion Boats at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup and Zippo 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series weekend highlights the summer action, August 7-10. For more tickets and more information, please contact the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official website www.TheGlen.com.