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NASCAR: Watkins Glen Racing Center hosts Holland Int'l Speedway talk Feb. 8

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Western New York’s Holland International Speedway will be the subject of a talk Feb. 8 at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, according to a press release sent out by the IMRRC on Wednesday, January 28.

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The 1 p.m. free talk is part of the annual Center Conversations speaker series that offers insider presentations on a wide variety of topics in racing.

Holland International Speedway, located in Erie County south of Buffalo, is one of NASCAR’s longest-sanctioned tracks. Known as “Thunder in the Hills,” Holland is the subject of a recently released pictorial-format book from Arcadia Publishing as part of its NASCAR Library Collection.

Book authors Tim Bennett and Larry Ott will be joined in their talk by champion driver George Skora III. The presentation will include showing many of the 200 photos included in their book.

Bennett is general manager at Holland, which was co-founded in 1960 by his father, Ronald Bennett, Richard Knox and Gordon Becker. Ronald Bennett continues to serve as track president.

“I started my career picking up garbage at the age of 7 and worked my way up through all positions. You name it, I did it,” Bennett said.

Ott is a motorsports columnist for "The Buffalo News" and has covered races at Holland since 1985, after years of attending races. He also has done motorsports television work for various networks, including Time Warner Cable.

“Over the last few years I have gained a great deal of respect for the mission of the Racing Research Center and the tremendous effort and devotion of the staff,” Ott said. “I look forward to the Conversation series event. I am truly honored and proud to have been invited to speak at this one-of-a-kind research facility.”

Holland is home track for Skora, who won the won the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Pro Modified division championship there. The title followed his 2012 NASCAR Late Model division championship at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pa. The division was discontinued at Lake Erie at the end of 2012.

Holland was built in 1960, originally as a one-third-mile dirt oval with a seating capacity of 1,200. It was expanded to three-eighths-mile in 1964. In 1968, the speedway was converted to asphalt and now has capacity for more than 7,000.

Upcoming Center Conversations talks will include 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 long 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.

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.

For more information about the Center’s work and its programs, visit its website or call (607) 535-9044.

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