This afternoon was an interesting racing competition – the IRL Watkins Glen race. I watched it on the ABC network. I took a whole page of notes & ideas about all sorts of things to share with you, my blog reading audience.
First, I’m glad the Champ Car (CART) vs. Indy Racing League (IRL) rift has “healed”. Many times during the broadcast the term re-unification was mentioned. All references were how it was a good thing. All along since Tony George’s IRL came about, I was always a fan of CART (later called Champ Cars). The reason being that the IRL was all about ovals only, whereas Champ Car had a variety of venues: ovals, street circuits, and road courses, all around the world. You know they had it right as the IRL started to add these venues later in their series.
I have never been to the Watkins Glen circuit, but I’ve been to the town a number of times during my youth. I was raised in Upsate New York, near Syracuse. The Watkins Glen State park is a beautiful place, with a wonderful hike through the gorges. During the race you could see glimpses of the hilly Finger Lakes landscape, the wine country alongside of Seneca Lake. I sure miss that variety here in South Texas.
Watkins Glen International race track is also know for its large number of regional and national SCCA events. The original course ran through town and was 6.6 miles long. It even crossed the railroad tracks in 2 places and they had to interrupt train service during races! Today’s high speed track is 3.8 miles long, in the Indy Car configuration. It has a grand variety of turns and elevation changes. Many drivers, both past and present have stated how much they like racing at this track.
Watkins Glen International ranks right up there with other tracks I respect in this country. It may not rank up there with the 14 mile Nürburgring (aka Nordschleife), but its in the same respected company as these great road courses: Laguna Seca, Infineon (formerly known as Sears Point), Mid-Ohio, Elkhart Lake & Road Atlanta.
As a wannabe racer, I aspire to visit these tracks as a spectator & even in a racing or a high performance driving event. I hold these locales as inspiration to become Racing Ready !