Completed : 1948
Distance : 2.45 miles
Shape : Road course
Turns : 11
Seating : 43,000
Watkins Glen International (nicknamed "The Glen") is an auto race track located near Watkins Glen, New York at the southern tip at Seneca Lake and is owned by International Speedway Corporation. It was long known around the world as the home of the United States Grand Prix, which it hosted for 20 consecutive years (1961–1980), but it has been home to road racing of nearly every class for over 50 years, including: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
The first Watkins Glen Grand Prix took place in 1948 on a 6.6-mile course over the local roads. For the first few years, the races passed through the heart of the town with spectators lining the sidewalks, but after a car left the road in the 1952 race, killing one spectator and injuring several others, the race was moved to a new location on a wooded hilltop southwest of town. The original 6.6 mile course is listed in the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places. This arrangement lasted three years before a 2.45-mile permanent race course was constructed on 550 acres, overlapping part of the previous course.
For 2007, Watkins Glen International again made improvements to the facility, specifically the track surface. All of turns 1(the "90"), 5(the "Carousel") & 6 (entry turn into the "Boot") have been repaved. A temporary "Glen Club" replaced the permanent structure destroyed by fire at the races in 2007 with plans in the works to replace it with another permanent building. New sponsors for both the INDY and NASCAR weekends were signed to multi-year deals. Zippo Manufacturing announced a three year extension of the Nationwide Series race, the Zippo 200. The Sprint Cup series race is now known as The Centurion Boats at the Glen, another multi-year deal that goes through 2009.
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