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Motorsports: Bill Green to talk Vanderbilt races at first 2014 Glen conversation

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Watkins Glen's International Motor Racing Research Center will launch its 2014 "Conversation" series this coming Saturday, January 18, according to a press release issued by the Center on Saturday. The first speaker will be Center Historian Bill Green who will discuss the George Vanderbilt Cup races of 1936 and 1937.

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The talk will start at 1 p.m. on January 18 at the Center and is free and open to the public.

Green will speak about the short, two-year run of the George Vanderbilt Cup competition at Roosevelt Raceway on Long Island.

The international W.K. Vanderbilt Cup races were conducted on Nassau County, NY, streets and on a closed circuit from 1904-10. The races moved to other states for the next six years. The George Vanderbilt Cup races were at the then-new facilities at Roosevelt Raceway for just two years in 1936 and 1937.

Another 20 years would pass before a Vanderbilt Cup was again awarded in the United States. The Cornelius Vanderbilt Cup was run at Roosevelt Raceway in 1960 as a Formula Junior event, and in 1965, 1967 and 1968 the Bridgehampton Sports Car Races were billed as the Cornelius Vanderbilt Cup.

Green, who is the Center's historian, is recognized for his exhaustive knowledge about racing at Watkins Glen and elsewhere. His personal collection of racing materials was launched at the first Watkins Glen race in 1948 when, as an 8-year-old, he bought a program. The collection today comprises 3,000-plus hard and soft cover books, racing posters, photographs, motorsports magazines and full race results of Watkins Glen 1948 to present.

Other Center Conversations topics during 2014 will include the history of Holland International Speedway in western New York; land speed record competition; Formula 5000 racing; and the Milwaukee Mile. Details will be announced as they are finalized.

The popular Center Conversations program has been a cornerstone of the Racing Research Center’s educational outreach and oral history initiative. Noted authors, race historians, drivers, team owners and track officials have taken listeners behind the scenes of every race series over the years.

Speakers have included Donald Davidson, historian at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Doug Nye, writer and historian; David Donohue, racer and son of famed driver Mark Donohue; Bobby Rahal, driver and team owner; and the late John Fitch and Bill Milliken, both legendary figures in road racing.

Currently, a 1968 LeGrand Mk7 #001 Formula 5000 race car (pictured) is on display at the Center. The car is on display into May of this year, coinciding with the F5000 talk.

The Racing Research Center is an archival library dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports, of all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials.

The Center is located at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen. For more information on the IMRRC's mission or events, check out its website, or call (607) 535-9044.

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Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. has been credentialed to write about both Formula 1 and NASCAR, as well as several historic/vintage race events. Check out Connie's blog about the sport at Motor Sport Muse.

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