Everyone has a favorite place to be during the summer. Maybe it’s going to the beach or sitting by the pool. Or braving the lines at Disney World. For Matt and me, that place is Watkins Glen. So it’s no surprise that Matt and I spent most of our summer vacation at Watkins Glen (or driving to or from Watkins Glen).
To all you non-race fans out there, I know what you’re thinking (and thank you, non-race fans, for reading this far). We took the same trip three times. And yes, there are some similarities. There were cars racing. We watched from the same location (the Glen Club) with many of the same people. We took a lot of photos (most with that iconic blue guardrail in the background). And we had a couple beers at the Seneca Lodge each night.
But really, that’s where the similarities end. Below are the highlights and some photos from those three races. Click on the photos for a larger slideshow. And there will be more stories to come from our summer.
The one with all the rain (Six Hours at the Glen). One of the great things about sports cars is they race rain or shine. Which was a good thing for the Six Hours of the Glen. Because it rained. A lot. Rain can make for good racing. It can also make for messy conditions, including ponds (probably more like lakes) in the turns. But these are race car drivers, and this is what they do. Somehow they powered through six hours of racing in the rain. And we watched the whole thing from the comfort (and dry) of the Glen Club. (We did leave for at least a couple minutes to snap some photo because race cars in the rain are pretty.)
The one with all the old cars (U.S. Vintage Grand Prix). While the Six Hours at the Glen was all about the driver, the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix was all about the car. Really old cars, kind of old cars. Really fast cars, kind of fast cars. Retired race cars—an Audi prototype, Indy cars, stock cars. Plenty of eye candy, which made for a great weekend of shooting. An added bonus—Jaguar’s autocross course in the infield. So I got an exhilarating, hold-onto-the-f*&%ing-handle ride in a 2016 F-Type with former F1 and Indy Car driver Roberto Moreno. So maybe it was a little bit about the driver.
The one with all the people (Cheez It 355 at the Glen). With fans camping all throughout the track’s property, Watkins Glen turns into a mini-city for the NASCAR weekend. The infield is this crazy combination of people, with fans, crews, and drivers all within close proximity of each other. It’s where a walk through the camping area for some people watching is mandatory. It’s where you can see Jimmie Johnson out for a run or tell Bill Elliott he’s got one hell of a son there. Oh, and there’s some racing too. Some of the best NASCAR racing of the season.
See you again next summer, Watkins Glen!