The Glen announces schedule changes
WATKINS GLEN--As the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions begin to reopen after novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pause, Gov. Andrew Cuomo specifically said Watkins Glen International racetrack could reopen in a press briefing last week.
"We're getting a little more nuanced in our analysis and starting to look for economic activities that we can start without crowds and gatherings - in this state we can do that with horse racing tracks and car racing at Watkins Glen and we're going to do that starting June 1st," said Cuomo.
While further guidance on the reopening is expected this week, the governor said "no crowds, no fans" but that televised events could happen.
"Watkins Glen International applauds the governor's thoughtful leadership during this unpreceded time," the track said in a written statement. "Today's announcement is exciting for racing fans, and a positive step forward in the process of live events returning to New York state. As the governor stated, this applies to events beginning June 1. We will continue to work with NASCAR, health experts and government officials to take a measured approach to our event season as well as operate in a manner that ensures the safety of our competitors, staff and local community."
WGI released a number of schedule changes in response to the COVID pandemic
• Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen, originally slated for June 25-28 will be rescheduled for the weekend of Oct. 1-4, 2020.
• The SCCA Majors Super Tour, scheduled for June 19-21 has been canceled.
• The Finger Lakes Wine Festival, scheduled for July 10-12, was also postponed until 2021.
Previously purchased tickets for the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen will be honored on the rescheduled weekend. Visit www.TheGlen.com/assistance-IMSA for further details and questions on ticket purchases.
SCCA and Finger Lakes Wine Festival ticket holders may elect to receive a credit for the full amount paid plus an additional 20 percent of total amount paid to apply towards a different future event, including, but not limited to, grandstand seating, infield, camping, fan hospitality and pit passes. The credit can be used in a single transaction during the remainder of the 2020 season and entire 2021 season for a WGI event, subject to availability.
NASCAR returned to racing last Sunday, May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, also with no fans in attendance. The race series will run a modified schedule as sports return across the nation.
Watkins Glen is now the only road course left on the schedule after events were relocated closer to Charlotte, North Carolina where many of the race teams have their facilities. Last week an update by NASCAR carried the schedule to June 21, but beyond is still unclear.
The reopening at Darlington was praised by drivers and demonstrated how a race without fans could work.
"Things actually went smoother than we could have expected, getting all the teams in," NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer Steve O'Donnell said. "Inspection went well. All in all, a good day for the sport. Excited to be back. Hopefully the fans enjoyed it on television. Odd not having the fans in the stands but we know the fans were with us in spirit for sure."