By Kyle Stephens
In the rural southern tier of New York State sits a small town, nestled in New York State’s wine country.
Watkins Glen is a town with a population of under 2,000 people with a love for racing. Racing began in 1948, using the town’s public roadways as a street course, until the permanent circuit was opened in 1956.
Watkins Glen has an enormous racing history and this year, Watkins Glen had a grandstand sellout crowd, which it has been for the past several years.
While other tracks throughout NASCAR struggle to fill the stands and are getting rid of grandstands or closing them off, by either not using them in general, or using sponsorship banners to cover those seats, Watkins Glen continues to expand and facilitate their fan base.
So what puts Watkins Glen International above the rest?
Watkins Glen has always been involved in the argument on whether or not NASCAR belongs on road courses. There are the diehard NASCAR fans that believe NASCAR should strictly remain on oval tracks while others like a change of pace.
Over the past 10 years, Watkins Glen has arguably had some of the best finishes throughout the entire NASCAR season. Whether it’s the Marcos Ambrose, Brad Keselowski finish of 2012 or the 2015 finish between Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick, just to name a couple.
Watkins Glen was also voted, for the third time, USA Today’s Readers’ Choice “Best NASCAR Track,” also winning in 2015 and 2017. Watkins Glen always seems to have finishes that are nail biters and leaves fans on the edge of their seats.
Watkins Glen is also the shortest official race on the NASCAR circuit, with drivers totaling 220.5 miles, which is NASCAR terms, is a sprint race.
With the track’s numerous passing zones, drivers have a short amount of time, comparatively to other races, to be able to make their way to the front. Along with having superspeedway speeds, as well as short track bumping and banging, it gives fans the opportunity to enjoy all of the aspects of what NASCAR used to be.
This weekend’s race was no exception. With plenty of drama throughout the race, drivers rubbing fenders, and two historic feats, Watkins Glen did not disappoint.
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.