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Motorsports: New York, Gov. Cuomo honor Watkins Glen Int'l 65th anniversary

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Watkins Glen International participated in an honor given to the historic upstate New York racetrack and the role motor sports in general play in the state on Thursday, March 20, in Albany. According to a press release by WGI, President Michael Printup was on hand in Albany to open with Governor Cuomo and other dignitaries a New York State Motor Sports Exhibit in Capitol Plaza honoring the 65th anniversary of their contribution to motor sports in New York. Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature proclaimed March 17-23 "Motorsports Week in the State of New York."

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According to the press release, Michael Printup commented: “The exhibit in Empire State Plaza is a fantastic example of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s support of motorsports in New York State and of Watkins Glen International. It is a great way to learn about The Glen, the events we host and why so many tourists visit us in the Finger Lake Region."

As part of the Exhibit, a 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Camry, 2012 Continental Tire Challenge Mazda RX8, former Goody’s Dash stock car provided by Alfred State and a New Holland Speedway Pro Modified car will be on display for the next two weeks on the Indoor Concourse of the Empire State Plaza.

In attendance for the announcement of the resolutions were:

  • Senator Tom O’Mara, 58th Senate District of New York
  • Assemblyman Chris Friend, 124th Assembly District of New York
  • Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, 132nd Assembly District of New York
  • Michael Printup, President of Watkins Glen International
  • Ricky Taylor, Co-driver: No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara DP, Team: Wayne Taylor Racing, Series: IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship
  • Jordan Taylor, Co-driver: No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara DP, Team: Wayne Taylor Racing, Series: IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship

"It's a great privilege for me to have this opportunity to join Governor Cuomo and my legislative colleagues to pay tribute to one of the world’s iconic sporting venues," said State Senator Tom O'Mara (R,C-Big Flats), sponsor of a Senate resolution recognizing the 65th Anniversary of Watkins Glen International. "Across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions," he added, "we all take great pride in the fact that 'The Glen' has resonated so powerfully throughout the history of American motorsports for more than six decades."

He continued: "Watkins Glen International has long stood in my legislative district as a mainstay of our regional culture and economy. It's one of New York State's premier destinations, a backbone of our leading tourism industry, and a driving force for countless charitable, community service and economic development initiatives. Very simply, we're fortunate to call Watkins Glen International one of our own."

Senator Betty Little, chair of the Senate Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee said: “Passion for motorsports runs deep and is a tradition enjoyed by families from generation to generation. Watkins Glen, known worldwide as a premier race track, attracts tourists far and wide for exciting races in the Southern Tier providing a big boost to the local economy. We also have a lot of small tracks across the state that generate their own excitement and also bolster their local economies. Racing fans throughout New York have something to cheer with the commemoration of ‘Motorsports Week’.”

"I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Governor Cuomo for proclaiming March 17-23 as Motorsports Appreciation Week in the State of New York,” said Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I - Corning). “Motorsports racing is a crucial part of our state's economy, particularly in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier region. Watkins Glen International is a cultural hallmark for our residents, and a prime tourism destination for racing fans across the country. It is a great privilege to represent Watkins Glen International in the New York State Assembly. I congratulate them on 65 thrilling years of racing and I wish them many more decades of success."

Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R, I, Big Flats) said, “I am very pleased that the State is taking this occasion to recognize the contributions of Watkins Glen International. We are proud to have this major attraction as a cornerstone of our local tourism industry. Every event, including all the community events that they host, are reminders of how lucky we are to have this track as a neighbor.”

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, Chair of the Assembly Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee, said: “Watkins Glen holds a long and storied position in international motorsports so it is a delight to welcome this exhibit and WGI leaders to Albany today as they mark The Glen’s 65th anniversary. Since its founding in 1948, Watkins Glen has been one of the premier racing facilities in the U.S. I am sure all New Yorkers join me in saluting this important destination for tourists from America and abroad.”

Road racing first came to Watkins Glen in 1948 when Cameron Argetsinger banded with local officials to bring European-style racing to the small Finger Lakes village after World War II. The idea caught on, and not long afterwards a purpose-built track appeared on a hill overlooking Seneca Lake and, in time, the location became a focal point for the worldwide Formula 1 series each October when the U.S. Grand Prix took place there from 1961 to 1980. Now, the track hosts the popular NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide series and many other professional and amateur events each season.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. has been credentialed by the FIA to write about Formula 1 and by NASCAR and historic events. With a historic racer from upstate New York, she is working on a book about racers and racing. Check out her blog, Motor Sport Muse.