At a press conference on Friday, June 27 in the Media Center at Watkins Glen International (WGI), Patrick Dempsey, Hurley Haywood, and Andrew Davis all praised the historic track for its character and history for them as drivers and for its popularity with the fans. The media event was held in advance of the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen that will happen on Sunday.
All three men speaking at the conference are associated with the Dempsey Racing team that is at The Glen to compete in the Porsche 911 GT America.
"Watkins Glen was really my first professional race," said veteran driver Haywood who is at the Glen this weekend in an advisory role for the Dempsey Racing team. He said that the track, "is like home for me."
Haywood explained the home metaphor a little further by saying that he has stayed at the same motel, in the same room, and even in the same bed since 1969. Later he quipped that the bed may even have the "same bedspread" on it.
Hurley Haywood is known for his success in endurance racing, chalking up multiple career wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona, and the 12 Hours of Sebring, among other achievements. He is a member of the Legends of The Glen.
About the chances for success for Dempsey Racing at the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen this weekend, Haywood said, "We're looking pretty good."
Driver Andrew Davis also had high praise for the historic racetrack in upstate New York. He said he has always thought of Watkins Glen and the Six Hours race as "one of the crown jewels of American sportscar racing."
He indicated that it may change a notch or two in position in his mind now and then, but it is always in his list of "top five" racetracks. According to the Dempsey Racing website, Davis is co-driving the entire 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with Dempsey.
About their chances in the six-hour enduro race this weekend, Patrick Dempsey himself commented, "I hope we finish. That's the first thing we need to do." He mentioned the Glen's history and the area as aspects of the weekend that he likes. He said it is one of the "key tracks" they race on in the season, and that it is inspirational and motivates the racers to do well.
Asked if he ever gets time to enjoy the area while he is in the Finger Lakes for the race, he said he does not get out as much as he would like but that he did enjoy a "run through the vineyards" that morning. The farmland reminds him of where he grew up in Maine, he said.
Back to racing, he said, "It's an honor and privilege to be part of this group."
The team is his and bears his name, but even so, racing is not Patrick Dempsey's day job, as many people outside of the racing world know. The driver is perhaps best known to the general public as an actor on television and in films, playing key roles in such works as "Grey's Anatomy" and the Disney film, "Enchanted."
Asked what advice he is learning from Haywood, Dempsey said that he is reminded that, despite how professional and technical racing may be, it is still important to think about and enjoy the process one goes through, not the result alone.
Dempsey said of the team and its ambitions at the iconic American road course, "We're chasing our first win here. It's very special to be here and learn."