From Tailgate To Trackside: NASCAR Gets It On at The Glen

Kara MartinSenior Analyst IAugust 6, 2009

This week NASCAR heads to Watkins Glen, where we’ll crown another king of the road courses as the Sprint Cup Series takes on some twisty turns.

Road course racing in the village of Watkins Glen, N.Y. became reality in 1948 after law student Cameron Argetinger’s dream of bringing European-style competition materialized. Argetinger drew up a course that encompassed asphalt, cement and dirt roads in and around the village, and on Oct 2, the top names in American sports car racing were welcomed by huge crowds in the first post-World War II road race in the United States.

The Glen, as it’s come to be known, has changed tremendously over the years. Racing moved to a temporary course in 1953, and in 1956, a permanent 2.3-mile track was built. One year later, the course hosted its first race, a NASCAR event won by Buck Baker.

The Glen played host to virtually every style of road racing, but in the early '80s the track fell into disrepair as a bankruptcy forced the track to close.

After being purchased in early 1983 by a subsidiary of Corning Glass Works, the renovated track reopened on July 7, 1984.

Watkins Glen and NASCAR rekindled their relationship on Aug 9, 1986 when fans witnessed Tim Richmond take the checkered flag.


Okay class, history lesson over. Let's get it on!

At The Glen it seems that anything goes. Unlike the camping restrictions at Pocono, feel free to bring your pets, scaffolding, non-metallic flagpoles, BBQ grills—heck, you can even bring your personal weed whackers and furniture, just as long as you don’t leave it behind. Clean toilets and hot showers are available for $3, a small price to pay for cleanliness!

You can camp virtually anywhere at The Glen. Reserve your spot in the infield or near one of the track's numerous Jumbotrons so that you don’t miss a second of the action. For those less structured of planners, unreserved camping is located on a first come, first serve basis at gates one and seven.

The Glen kicks tailgating up a notch this weekend as the newly formed National Tailgating League, (The NTL) announced that it’s first stop in New York will kick off an officially sanctioned cornhole tournament in conjunction with the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen.

Cornhole is a game similar to horseshoes in which participants take turns tossing corn bags at wooden boxes in an attempt to get the bag through a hole in the top, or at least land the bag on the top of the box. The game is also known as bags, corn toss, bean bag, bean toss, soft horseshoes or Indiana Horseshoes.

The Aug. 9 main event will offer a $2,500 cash prize. Top finishers in the two Aug. 8 amateur cornhole tournaments will receive race-related awards such as suite passes, pace car rides, driver meet-and-greets and private pit tours.

What the fans be grillin?

Dip served with chips, crackers or vegetables are always a perfect race day munchies.

With Heluva Good sponsoring the event, you can’t go wrong with any one of their tasty treats. Check out their website for recipes that incorporate their products into race day main dishes like French Onion marinated chicken breast, white cheddar and bacon-infused burgers or grilled tomatoes with onion basil topping.

Watkins Glen is home to over 70 wineries. It’s been said that drinking wine in moderation has its health benefits, so harness your inner Sommelier and let’s get bottle-shocked!

Pair any of their suggestions with a good beer or wine and you have the makings of one great weekend!


Looking for an extra twist or turn?

Fans will have unprecedented access to their favorite drivers during the race weekend.

Aug. 6: Hang out with Bobby Labonte in the Winner’s Lounge at Tioga Down Casino from 5:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.

Joey Logano, along with crew chief Greg Zippadelli will be signing autographs for the first 700 wristbanded fans from the Painted Post Home Depot.

Reed Sorensen will be at the Corning, N.Y. McDonald’s from 6:00 p.m. -7:30 p.m. signing autographs for the first 200 guests. Kurt Busch will also be in Corning for the Race Fever festival, where he will make an appearance and sign autographs.

Aug. 7: An all-driver autograph session for the stars of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series will take place from 2:00 p.m. -3:00 p.m. in the Grand-Am paddock at the track.

Ryan Miller, goaltender for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and Grand Marshal of Friday night’s Crown Royal 200 will make an appearance at The Pyramid at Watkins Glen International from 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Kasey Kahne will be at the Horseheads N.Y. McDonald’s from 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. to sign autographs for the first 200 fans.

Aug. 8: NASCAR artist Sam Bass will be making three appearances at the Zippo display at the track along the Fan Midway. Appearances are scheduled at 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m., and 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m..

Sorensen will make two appearances at the McDonald’s Family Zone at the track to sign autographs for the first 75 fans. The appearances are scheduled for 11:00 a.m.– 11:25 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m..

Aug. 9: Leading up to the race on Sunday morning, drivers and NASCAR personalities, including Kasey Kahne and Richard Petty will be available for autographs as well as question and answers.

Want to test out your own road racing skills? Sign up for a Thunder Road Tour. For just $25, you can “follow the pace car down the FrontStretch into the Ninety, twist, climb and claw your way up through the Esses and onto the Backstretch, braking as you hit the Inner Loop and navigate the Carousel turn, then drop off the face of the earth into the depths of the turn-heavy Boot, climb your way out into Turn Ten, regain your senses and make a run for the finish line!”

Check out these events and more at

Have a “Heluva Good” time this weekend and see you next weekend as we melee in Michigan!