Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – WATKINS GLEN, NY – Watkins Glen International announced Friday afternoon they will open its grandstands to full capacity (38,900) for NASCAR weekend August 4-8 featuring the Go Bowling at the Glen for the NASCAR Cup Series.
The announcement comes as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that COVID-19 restrictions are lifted immediately, as at least 70% of adult New Yorkers have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are thrilled to welcome fans back at 100% capacity to Watkins Glen International following clearance from New York state government and health officials,” quoted Michael Printup, WGI President in a press release. “Fans are our lifeblood and their presence at the track creates the aura and energy this sport thrives upon. We are appreciative of Governor Cuomo and his administration for their diligent work and collaboration to help us safely and smartly host fans as we look ahead to our IMSA and NASCAR events this summer.”
In cooperation with recent CDC guidelines, masks will still be required for those who are not vaccinated from COVID-19.
For the last five Cup races, Watkins Glen has announced the Cup race has been sold out. With capacity increasing to 100%, the possibility of it happening for a 6th time looks to be real.
When NASCAR takes to the twists and turns of The Glen, eyes will be on defending Cup champion Chase Elliott to see if he can three-peat. Elliott has won the last two Cup races at The Glen, including his maiden Cup win in 2018.
This is also a major healing moment for auto racing in the state of New York. Last year, when the Governor announced a mandatory quarantine for out of state travelers, North Carolina was a part of the list originally. As many of NASCAR’s drivers, teams, and employees are based in North Carolina, the sport was left with no choice but to cancel the race for the season.
In addition to the Cup Series, NASCAR will also feature the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series on August 7th. It is the first time the Trucks have raced at The Glen since 2000 and will be the regular season finale to determine the 10 truck drivers that make the Playoffs. The ARCA Menards Series will open the weekend up on August 6th.
Next weekend, Watkins Glen International will host the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a crown jewel on the schedule, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen on June 27th. The week after, IMSA returns for a Friday evening event, the WeatherTech 240 on July 2nd. Per the press release, “fans are welcomed at both events with general admission access.”