Opening Day at Watkins Glen International has traditionally been the day that fans can drive the historic 3.4-mile road course to celebrate the opening of a new season.
Watkins Glen International (WGI) and the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) announced that the 2009 activity will feature both the opening of the 61st racing season in The Glen and a two-day tribute to Mark Donohue and his cars.
Highlights of the weekend will include; the first release of the new Mark Donohue biography, named Mark Donohue, Technical Excellence at Speed, from David Bull Publishing, authored by Michael Argetsinger, a display and tribute laps with historic Donohue race cars at the track, and public availability of Donohue’s friends, family, and team personnel.
On Saturday, April 25th Mark Donohue racing enthusiasts will have a chance to get up-close with Argetsinger during the monthly “Center Conversation” hosted by the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) from 1 to 3pm. Michael Argetsinger is the son of Cameron Argetsinger, the man credited with bringing road racing to Upstate New York and making Watkins Glen and Watkins Glen International household names worldwide. Argetsinger’s first book, “Walt Hansgen: His Life and the History of Post-War American Road Racing” was critically acclaimed and received a Gold Medal for biography and was named Best of Books for 2006 at the International Automotive Media Awards.
The talk will focus on Argetsinger’s new book and will feature comments and recollections by some of the people who were part of Donohue’s career including; Karl Kainhofer, Malcolm Starr, Jerry Kroninger, Walter Czarnecki, John Woodard, Don Cox, Daniel Luginbuhl and Mark’s oldest son, Michael Donohue. Admission to this event is free and several of the former Donohue racecars will be on display before and after the presentation.
On, Sunday, April 26th, Watkins Glen International will be the place to be for every Mark Donohue race fan. The new Donohue biography, Mark Donohue, Technical Excellence at Speed, will be available for purchase to the general public for the first time and race fans will have the opportunity to have the book autographed by the author and several Donohue personalities. From 12-12:30pm fans will also be treated to” tribute laps” by some of the race cars that were driven by Donohue including: a Lola T70 Can Am car, a Eagle-Offy that raced in the 1973 Indianapolis 500, a 1968 Trans Am Camaro, Donohue’s first race car – the 1961 National Championship winning Elva Courier, and the 1965 Shelby GT 350R that he drove to win the 1965 SCCA North East, B production championship – to name but a few.
Immediately following the tribute laps, the cars, drivers and many of the people associated with Donohue’s career will conduct a meet-and-greet in the Gatorade Victory Lane, offering fans a chance to see the cars up close, take photographs and another chance to have their copy of the Donohue book signed by Argetsinger and the many personalities who will be in attendance.
Opening Day at WGI will once again offer fans the opportunity to drive The Soul of American Road Racing. For only $20 fans will be able to drive three laps around the same turns as Mark Donohue and many other motor sport legends. Gates will open at 9:00am, with laps starting at 10:00am and ending at 3:00pm, including a half hour break for the Tribute Laps at noon. Sunday will also be the final opportunity for race fans to purchase tickets at Advance Sale discount prices.
Further event and ticket information for the 2009 season at Watkins Glen International can be found at www.theGlen.com or by calling the ticket office at 866.461.RACE. Proceeds from Opening Day will benefit the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC).
The Center, opened in 1998, is located in Watkins Glen, NY, and functions as both a research library and an archive. This one-of-a-kind facility is supported entirely by donations from enthusiasts committed to preserving the heritage of motor sport and receives no support from federal state or local sources. The Center’s core collection includes more than 3,000 reference books, as well as hundreds of films, race posters and programs, periodicals, club records and thousands of photographs.
Additional information about the Center, its programs, and services can be found at the website, www.racingarchives.org.
[Source: Watkins Glen; photo courtesy of Autosports Marketing Assoc]