An open letter to Roger Penske
Dear Mr. Penske: Thank you for purchasing Indycar and the Speedway. I can’t think of anyone else that can make Indycar the biggest series on earth. CART almost did it before it crashed. The current series is mega in every way. Only one problem. There is no race in the Northeast, a place with a very large population and media presence to draw from. It’s time to bring back Indycar to Watkins Glen.
Watkins Glen is the spiritual home to open-wheel roadracing in the USA. Everyone in the series would want to win there and everyone would love the old-school track. It’s fast and wide with lots of elevation change and passing zones.
Indycar last visited Watkins Glen back in 2017. Alexander Rossi beat Scott Dixon by under 1 second. The rest of the field was some way back, racing to a sparse crowd. The cars were ugly “aero kit” Dallaras and the series was muddling along. But that was then and now seems worlds better.
The current series is full of potential winners, the cars are jet-fighter cool and sponsors are on every car. Crowds are up at every race and so are the TV ratings.
But the season ends way too early, leaving countless fans wanting the series to rock on. NASCAR races until the snow falls. F1 goes to the Mid-East when cold sets in everywhere else. Indycar is already weeks into the winter hibernation at that point.
Why Watkins Glen is the solution
When F1 decided that the Glen was no longer chic after the 1980 race, they ran for the money-proffering countries with the sterile tracks.
None of those tracks have the history and atmosphere of the Glen. Watkins Glen in the autumn is glorious. No better example is this art by Randy Owens entitled Andretti: Champion. It was 1978 and Mario Andretti came home to celebrate his F1 World Championship. The leaves were crimson and gold and the air crisp.
The 2022 series ends the second week in September. How about a race at Watkins Glen two weeks later? Make the last race weekend a corker by having a 100 mile race on Saturday and another on Sunday. Both for double points.
No matter where the championship was at Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen would probably be the decider. Two races over two days would guarantee a championship result even if the weather does not cooperate.
Call it the Watkins Glen Grand Prix
Combine it with the Road to Indy series’ and a mega vintage event, like Grand Prix Masters. Call it a “Revival”.
I can’t imagine that every fan that loves Watkins Glen and the Glen in autumn wouldn’t love to attend. Fans that remember attending GPs there would bring friends and family to experience autumn in upstate New York and recall heady days past watching their racing heroes.
It’s not too late for 2022
The schedule is not final yet. Please Mr. Penske, bring back Indycar to Watkins Glen. It will be a glorious way to end the season. Thanks on behalf of racing fans everywhere.
Think this is a great idea?
Contact Indycar and tell them! Consumer pressure is a great tool. Simply fill out the form and request “Bring back Indycar to Watkins Glen in 2022”.
You’ll be glad you did.
For more Indycar articles, click here.
For lots more auto racing craziness of all kinds, click here.