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When Carl Edwards first visited Watkins Glen International in 2005, it was for a test session for the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series cars that he ran for Jack Roush Racing. This writer recalls it fondly because I’ll never forget how wide-eyed and excited he was before he went out on the track.
Watkins Glen International has always set a full schedule of off-track activities during the annual NASCAR stop at the upstate NY venue including autograph sessions, driver appearances, opportunities to have coffee with track executives (president and vice president) and concerts every night of the race weekend.
It’s been a long time since the large media center at Watkins Glen was full, but full it was when Earnhardt took to the stage at noon sharp today to discuss his progress since stepping out of his No 88 race car a few weeks ago due to side effects of a concussion that was incurred at Michigan in June.
As people load up their campers and head to the track, it’s important to remind everyone that carbon monoxide is an odorless gas and can kill in minutes. Take a few moments to check over your generator and correct any issues with its operation. It could mean the difference between life and death.
When I heard that the track was selected to host the jam band Phish for their Magnaball festival just a couple of weeks after the big NASCAR race weekend this summer I decided that I needed to see how the track facilities would be used for such an event due to the significant differences in the events. The festival was a three-day event that had one main theme; Phish and their music.
Jeff Gordon has had great success at Watkins Glen and in what is his last time running at the road course in upstate New York. Gordon has 4 wins, 6 top 5’s and an average finish of 14.8. Jeff was asked what the road courses meant to his career. “I think early on I just remember wanting to take on every challenge as a team that we possibly could to improve to be a bigger threat for the championship,” he said.
Long time readers of my columns know that I am not a fan of restrictor-plate racing. It’s not for the reasons that most think of after this week’s chaos at the end of the Coke Zero 400 at the Daytona International Speedway last Monday morning (that’s another story, for another day).
Watkins Glen International currently leads the voting in USA Today’s favorite NASCAR track as I write this. Since I follow them on Facebook I get almost daily updates on the progress and in one case there was a photo of fans in the grandstands that included a group of almost 30 friends cheering on the exciting racing at the Glen.
As we head into this holiday weekend let’s not forget the tremendous sacrifice that many before us have endured for us all to enjoy our lives the way we do. Thank you to all servicemen and women, their families and loved ones for your current and past service, this American appreciates you!
A couple of weeks ago Dale Earnhardt would have turned 65 years old and there were many tributes in the media to the Intimidator. There were many more, in various forms, all over social media. But one thing I noted via Twitter was that Kevin Harvick had given Dale Earnhardt Jr. a diecast car of one of his father’s first race cars. What was even neater was the fact that you could see in the photo that the car was autographed.