Watkins Glen International Voted Favorite Track By NASCAR Fans

[credit: Jon Reis /]

WATKINS GLEN, N. Y. – Watkins Glen International has been voted as the favorite track by NASCAR’s fans for the third consecutive year in a poll conducted by USA Today. The results were announced by WGI president Michael Printup during a press conference leading into NASCAR weekend at the famed road course.

Printup attributed the favorable results to his social media team. “Our guy was on it all the time – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter along with our state and local politicians,” he said. “They jumped into the social atmosphere, too, to help us with our promotions. I am really proud of our fans for jumping on the social networking. We did it proud and hard.”

To keep the facility up to date, the track has invested upwards of $54 million over the last 10 or 11 years with another $1.2 million in 2018, according to Printup. “It is all about the fan experience, the media experience and the corporate experience. Each segment has something with the intent of appeasing them,” he said. “The bucket can never get emptied because we always need more money for these capital improvement projects.”

Printup said it is the atmosphere and the memories that endear the track to the fans. New social party decks have helped too and the investment in these structures was relatively small. Being in the picturesque Finger Lakes helps also as does the intense racing that takes place.

In the future, Printup said an earlier starting time for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race would appeal to many fans and farther down the road is the possibility of running the Cup race on the long 3.4-mile course, which is a mile longer than the course used by the stock cars over the years.

The Verizon IndyCar Series and IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series among others compete on the longer course.

To prepare for the long course, television would have to address cabling and fibering issues along with infrastructure issues such as rest rooms. “My druthers are to be able to race the ‘Boot’ someday, as we think it would add more excitement, and I think the drivers are for it as well,” Printup commented.

Said A. J. Allmendinger, a Glen winner, “I wish we ran the ‘Boot,’ as it would make the race really exciting and separate the field a little more.”

After running at The Glen in 2016 and 2017, IndyCar didn’t return in 2018, even though the contract was for three years with scheduling one of the biggest challenges. “They should be here, and I mean that from a passionate point of view from the drivers,” Printup noted, who said he is in regular contact with IndyCar executives. He hopes that IndyCar can return in 2020 or after depending on scheduling possibilities and contractual arrangements. The end of August would suit Printup, to avoid holiday weekends such as Labor Day.

This weekend the campgrounds are full and the family atmosphere is festive – all the ingredients that went into WGI achieving first place again in the popularity poll among NASCAR tracks.

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