Watkins Glen International

Track Length: 2.45 miles
Race Length:220.5 Miles
First Race:Aug. 4, 1957 - The Glen
Number of Turns:11
Track Width:38 feet
Seating:N/A

Track History

Mailing Address
PO Box 500
Watkins Glen, NY 14891

History
Law student Cameron Argetsinger dreamed of bringing European style competition to the village where he spent his summer vacations and he drew up a challenging course that encompassed asphalt, cement and dirt roads in and around the village of Watkins Glen. The dream became reality on October 2, 1948, "The Day They Stopped the Trains," in the first post-World War II road race in the U.S. For five years, the top names in American sports car racing visited the small village and huge crowds came out to watch them race.

Competition moved to a temporary course in 1953, and the 2.3-mile permanent circuit was built in 1956. The following year, The Glen hosted its first professional race, a NASCAR Grand National Stock Car event won by Buck Baker over Fireball Roberts. True international competition began in 1958 with the running of a Formula Libre race.

Financial difficulties led to the Watkins Glen date being dropped from the Formula 1 schedule in the early 80's and as a result, the bankrupt track closed following a CART race in 1981. Over the next two years the track fell into disrepair, hosting only a few non-spectator SCCA weekends. Corning Enterprises, a newly-chartered subsidiary of Corning Glass Works, purchased the track in early 1983 and formed a partnership with International Speedway Corporation forming Watkins Glen International.

The Glen reopened on July 7, 1984, with Al Holbert, Derek Bell and Jim Adams winning the inaugural Camel Continental at the renovated facility. On August 9, 1986, fans witnessed Tim Richmond's triumph at the return of the NASCAR Cup Series. The Cup race at The Glen grew to become New York State's largest motorsports event and saw some of NASCAR's finest take the checkered flag including, Martin, Wallace, and in 1998, Jeff Gordon, won his second consecutive Glen race before a record crowd.

In 1991, Terry Labonte won the first NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Glen beginning an impressive streak of four wins in six years, including three consecutive wins in 1994 through 1996. His three year win streak ranks him with other Watkins Glen three-time winners: Formula One ace Graham Hill, SportsCar drivers Al Holbert and Derek Bell and Winston Cup driver Mark Martin.

1992 saw a major reconfiguration of The Glen's back straightaway. The addition of the Inner Loop increased the length of the long course to 3.4 miles and the short course to 2.45 miles. The new turns enhanced competition while adding quality spectator viewing. The Glen cemented its distinction as North America's fastest road course when Davy Jones won the pole for the Camel Continental IX with a fast lap of 150.334 mph on the reconfigured 2.45 mile short course.

In 1997, International Speedway Corporation became sole owner of the historic road course, exercising a stock option buy-out of Corning Incorporated. The sale completed Corning's mission of rebuilding the race track while revitalizing the Southern Finger Lakes Region.

Directions & Parking

  • From Buffalo, Toronto and points West:
    I-90 East to Rte 14 South (Geneva Exit 42) take 14 South to Watkins Glen along the west side of beautiful Seneca Lake. 40 minutes from Exit 42

  • From Cleveland, Jamestown, Olean, Erie, Bradford PA and points West:
    Rt 17 East to Rte 414 North in Corning (Exit 46 turn left at end of exit ramp). 25 minutes from Corning.

  • From Williamsport, Harrisburg PA and points South:
    Rt 15 North to Rt 17(I-86) East to Route 414 North (Exit 46 turn left at end of exit ramp). 25 minutes from Corning.

  • From Albany, Springfield MA, Oneonta:
    Rt 88 West to Rt 17(I-86) West to Rt 14 North in Horseheads. 25 minutes from Horseheads.

  • From Utica and points East (scenic route):
    I-90 West to Rt 81South to Rt 79 West (in Ithaca) to Rt 414 South. 30 minutes from Ithaca.

  • From Binghamton, Scranton, New York City and points South East:
    Rt 17(I-86) West to Rt 14 North in Horseheads. 25 Minutes from Horseheads.

  • From Syracuse, Auburn, Oswego:
    I-90 West to Rt 14 South (Geneva exit 42). 40 minutes from Exit 42.

    The Watkins Glen International Track is approximately 3 miles outside of Watkins Glen. Go South on Rte 414 to the Traffic Light (3/4 mile) at the top of the hill and turn Right go aproximately 2.25 miles to the track (on your left).

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