In NASCAR’s fourth installment of the 2020 schedule spanning through August, there is a familiar racetrack that is not featured on the list and will not appear for the remainder of this year. That racetrack is Watkins Glen International.
This season, the iconic racetrack in Watkins Glen, New York, will not host any NASCAR national division series races, including those that were initially scheduled for August 15-16, 2020 for an Xfinity Series and Cup Series doubleheader. The news comes as NASCAR was unable to receive a quarantine waiver that would allow the sport to race in New York in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, the races at The Glen will be replaced by NASCAR’s inaugural races on Daytona International Speedway’s road course layout on August 14-16, where the ARCA Menards Series and the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will join the Xfinity and Cup Series in a historic quadruple-header weekend. NASCAR’s debut at Daytona’s road course comes six months early than its initial debut in February 2021 for the annual Busch Clash.
Moments after the fourth installment of the 2020 NASCAR schedule was released, a statement from Watkins Glen International was also released, citing the sport’s decision to realign its races to Daytona and New York’s to ensure the health and safety for all individuals as their main priority due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a result of the ongoing pandemic, NASCAR has realigned the Go Bowling at The Glen NASCAR weekend to the Daytona International Speedway road course. While we are disappointed that we will not see our NASCAR fans at The Glen this year, we must prioritize the health and safety of our attendees, competitors and staff.”
This will mark the first time since 1985 that NASCAR will not compete at The Glen in New York. Watkins Glen also joins Chicagoland Speedway and Sonoma Raceway as tracks that have canceled their scheduled Cup races this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NASCAR Cup Series made its debut at Watkins Glen in 1957 for a 44-lap feature, which was won by the late NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker. Following a six-year hiatus, the sport returned for the next two seasons in 1964 and 1965. It was not until the sport’s second return in 1986 where the road course became an annual race and has featured a race at The Glen through 2019. From its debut in 1957 through last season, 23 competitors have won a Cup race at The Glen. Chase Elliott is the recent Cup Series winner at the track, where he has also won at The Glen the previous two seasons.
In addition, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will not race at The Glen for the first time since 2004. The series raced at The Glen from 1991 to 2001 and took a three-year hiatus from the track before returning in 2005. In the races held at The Glen, 15 competitors have recorded an Xfinity win at the track. Austin Cindric is the recent Xfinity Series winner at the track, where he notched his first series career victory following a late battle with A.J. Allmendinger. Watkins Glen joins a number of familiar racetracks to the Xfinity schedule that will not host a race this season, among which includes the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway and Iowa Speedway.
Future plans for Watkins Glen International will be announced at a later date.