Watkins Glen Preview: Kinda Like Mid-Ohio


Photo from indycar.com

Try not to become discombobulated, disturbed or disoriented Sunday when the contest at the Glen seems eerily similar to certain other races on the schedule.

As the name implies, the “IndyCar GP” wasn’t originally scheduled to take place at all, thrown together in two weeks’ time immediately after Boston followed Brazil‘s suit and jilted the series. When’s the last time a NASCAR race was cancelled? Hurriedly announced in mid May, it was just as hurriedly forgotten coming in the middle of all the 100th Running hoopla.


Photo from autoweek.com

It may be better than no race at all as some say, but unfortunately it also strongly resembles Mid-Ohio. Strongly as in stench, or disagreement. Enough of these risible road courses already – Penske’s frog Pagenaud and chief whiner Power have swept every single pole and race on ’em this season. Like at Mid-Ohio.


Photo from indycar.com

It’s been six years since IndyCar last roared into upstate New York and now the race’s closer to its old, traditional fall date. The July 4th weekend date of a decade ago was a dud, leading to IndyCar’s exit. Whatever your thoughts are on the Glen, like the rest of the schedule get used to it. The track recently announced the series will return through 2018. Mid-Ohio’s slated to return too, of course. Ugh.

Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen

Photo from motorsports.nbcsports.com

The permanent road course was built in 1958 and has undergone numerous changes. Modern IndyCar didn’t race there until 2005. F-1 raced the U.S. Grand Prix at the Glen from 1961 through 1980, and multiple winners – all from the UK – include Jim Clark, Graham Hill, James Hunt and Jackie Stewart. CART raced on the course from 1979-1981, the last coming right before the track went bankrupt and closed down for three years. If only Mid-Ohio . . .


Photo from caranddriver.com

Its current configuration is an eleven turn, 3.4 mile jaunt through the Finger Lakes region woods. The Glen’s speed killing turns are quaintly called such things as the Boot and Inner Loop. Located in a mountainous region the track features elevation changes, too. Kinda like Mid-Ohio. And Road America.


Image from gotickets.com

Previous winners include Rick Mears and Bobby Unser, who won twice for Penske on the short course during the CART era. Ryan Hunter-Reay driving for Rahal Letterman Racing, Power for Penske and the late Justin Wilson all won in the modern era. Wilson’s victory in 2009 was the first ever for Dale Coyne Racing after a quarter century in IndyCar. All this after Ganassi’s flippin’ Scott Dixon won three in a row from 2005-2007. Again, very much like Mid-Ohio.


Photo from usnews.com

As for the quality of the racing, our recollection isn’t overly fond of the Glen. Obviously Wilson’s win for Coyne was memorable and fun, but Power’s win in the last race wasn’t. Like all middling road courses, fuel strategy and what’s worse – fuel saving – will no doubt figure largely in the outcome. Coming off the high speed, all out oval extravaganza pass-fests at Pocono and Texas, the cars will likely seem to be doing half speed on Sunday. It’s because they will be. Exactly like Mid-Ohio, and Barber, and Sonoma, and . . .


Photo from indycar.com


7 thoughts on “Watkins Glen Preview: Kinda Like Mid-Ohio

  1. Pingback: IndyCar Watkins Glen Predictions and Prognostications: Glen Scotty, Glen Boss | Indy Race Reviewer: Fast And Funniness

  2. Pingback: IndyCar Watkins Glen Preview: Wit’s End Edition | Indy Race Reviewer: Fast And Funniness

  3. Pingback: Watkins Glen Race Review: Paid Plugs Edition | Indy Race Reviewer: Fast And Funniness

  4. Pingback: Watkins Glen Predictions and Prognostications: Labor Day Edition | Indy Race Reviewer: Fast And Funniness

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