Monday, August 6, 2012

Why I Love NASCAR: Watkins Glen International by Chief 187™

Racing in reverses, Watkins Glen adds many twists and turns to the usual race
experience. Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR
Coming from a sports car racing background it only stands to reason that road racing venues are among my favorite on NASCAR’s circuit. Certainly my time at Pocono Raceway last weekend colors my view for triangle tracks, but road course racing is in my blood and fuels my passion.

Like Pocono, Watkins Glen is a facility my father’s and husband’s club, the Vintage Sports Car Club of America, have raced. As a part of their respective teams I have had the supreme privilege to spend time at this track at different times of the year to bear witness to its history, character, and aura.

Situated in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, the Glen is perhaps one of the most breathtaking tracks I have ever been. Lush, green, rolling hills, Seneca Lake down below in the Village of Watkins Glen, and a rich tradition and history of racing that is evident in vividly painted sides of buildings makes this charming area a must see.

Growing up I only knew of racers who turned both left and right. I knew more about Lime Rock Park (CT) and Watkins Glen than Daytona or Indy simply because of my father’s hobby. So, when I became a NASCAR fan and realized the drivers tested their talents at superspeedways, short tracks, and my beloved road courses, I was hooked for life.

It always fascinated me that “road course ringers” like Boris Said were brought on board certain teams who felt their daily drivers were incompetent to compete on the road courses. If the venues were on the circuit, I reasoned to myself, wouldn’t learning how to drive there be more conducive to the driver than kicking him out of the car to make room for the “ringer”?

What I noticed was the “ringers” rarely placed exceptionally well at the road course. Certain drivers – Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, and Jeff Gordon – were well-rounded enough to figure out the genre of racing that exists at only two venues in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.

And, as the years march on, more and more drivers have beefed up their road course aptitude. The Busch brothers come to mind as does Clint Bowyer. It seems that many team owners felt the same as I did so long ago. Road courses are on the circuit – learn to drive them!

And, because NASCAR drivers are so very talented, they have.

If you haven’t attended a race at this facility nor visited the gorgeous lands that surround the track, I implore you to add it to your “Must-See” list now.

And while at the Glen, visiting the Seneca Lodge Restaurant, a mainstay in the area that is ripe with legend, lore, racing images, and atmosphere, is a must. Racing memorabilia galore can be found – exploring the establishment will take hours (years?) and complements any trip to the track.

Road course racing is a true test of driving prowess. Watkins Glen is an historic and top-notch venue in which to experience road course racing. Having both on the NASCAR circuit, road course racing at Watkins Glen, are yet more reasons why I love NASCAR.

Chief 187™ is a writer, columnist, and blogger as well as creator of the widely popular Chief 187™Chatter. Her column “Why I Love NASCAR” and other articles are featured on Skirts and Scuffs. She can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s. To find out more please visit


  1. Watkins Glen has been on my must see list ever since I first saw photographs of it from the US Grand Prix meeting... back in 1973 !

  2. Great post! We are linking to this particularly great content on our site.

    Keep up the great writing.

    My site :: web page - ,