IndyCar awaits green flag at Watkins
WATKINS GLEN (8/31/16)--Labor Day weekend will highlight racing technology at Watkins Glen International as the IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen runs from Thursday, Sept. 1 to Sunday, Sept. 4 at the track.
On-track activities include the IndyCar Series, Indy Lights and the Ferrari Club of America. Practice sessions begin Friday and continue throughout the weekend, while the races take place Saturday and Sunday.
The Indy Lights are scheduled for their competitive event from 1:35 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Saturday, and the 60 lap IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen begins at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4. The race will be televised on the NBC Sports Network.
The Ferrari Club of America will have track sessions each day with morning and afternoon times Friday through Sunday.
The last time IndyCar visited WGI was in 2010. However, earlier this year the cancellation of the Grand Prix of Boston opened a date in the IndyCar schedule. Watkins announced this spring the open-wheel cars would be back at the track for 2016, and Thursday, Aug. 25, added a multi-year deal was reached. This will keep the series at the race circuit until at least 2018.
The deal was presented at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, where Track President Michael Printup was joined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, State Sen. Tom O'Mara, IndyCar President Jay Frye, and IndyCar driver Will Power.
Printup said, "In the end, this was the goal of both Watkins Glen International and IndyCar -- to announce a multi-year agreement. We are very much looking forward to next weekend's Grand Prix at The Glen, and can't wait to get started with our efforts to grow this event moving into the 2017 season. Of course, this would not be possible without the outstanding support that we receive from New York State and Governor Cuomo. It's just a great day and a very exciting announcement for our fans and partners."
The Indy series comes to WGI from the oval at Texas Motor Speedway where the top three finishers were Graham Rahal, James Hinchcliffe and Tony Kanaan. Currently in the overall standings Simon Pagenaud is first with 529 points and four wins. He is followed by Will Power (2010 winner at WGI), Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves and Josef Newgarden. Scott Dixon, who is currently ranked sixth, has won three times at The Glen.
During a test at WGI in June, Pagenaud commented, "It's a beautiful track and the surroundings are also amazing. Pretty exciting to come here. This is a classical event for the Verizon IndyCar Series, so very excited to be back on the schedule. It takes a lot of commitment here around the racetrack. The Indy cars with the aero kit that we have on the Chevrolet car has a lot of downforce. They're going through these corners, it's very, very high speed. It's a lot of fun."
Prior to this season the track was repaved for the first time since 1998 and the speeds of the cars should easily break previous records.
At a testing session this summer Dixon remarked, "Physically it's much more demanding than what we've had in the past, but I think with the repavement it's going to make the racing pretty good. Even off line it's still pretty grippy, so it might give you a few different options for passing. And typical Watkins Glen style, I think if you trim out (the car), especially for the back straight, I think you're going to have some good speed going into the bus stop."
Tickets can still be purchased for this weekend. A weekend pass is $90 and Sunday only is $75. Children 13-19 are $15 and under 12 is $10. All tickets are general admission and for all grandstands. There are also camping options available along with parking and hospitality packages. For more information and to see a full schedule of events visit www.theglen.com.