The Glen: IndyCar Didn’t Get What It Wanted, But It Got What It Needed

With Boston off the schedule, historic Watkins Glen picks up the IndyCar race 

bySteve Cole Smith|
The Glen: IndyCar Didn’t Get What It Wanted, But It Got What It Needed


No question: One of the can’t-miss races each year in NASCAR’s August trip to the Watkins Glen International road course in upstate New York.

And as of this week, Watkins adds another can’t miss: The IndyCar Labor Day weekend, which will also feature the Indy Lights cars.

The newly-repaved Glen should make the 60-lap IndyCar race one of the best on the series’ schedule. Watkins Glen’s gain, Boston’s loss: IndyCar and promoter John Casey tried for months to tie up the inaugural Boston street race, but Casey apparently tired of jumping through hoops, so he pulled the plug.

At the time, Casey said there were to other cities interested in hosting the street race, and “They are both willing to do it without the headaches of Boston.” That a city could pull together a street race that quickly seemed to be a stretch, so it wasn’t a big surprise that the replacement turned out to be a permanent road course.

Watkins Glen International has hosted nine past IndyCar races, from 1979-81 and again from 2005-10. The first two events were run on the 2.4-mile short course and were both won by Bobby Unser. The race moved to the 3.4-mile long course in 1981 when Rick Mears drove to victory.