MOTORCYCLE LEGEND KEVIN SCHWANTZ SET FOR GLEN CRAFTSMAN TRUCK RACE
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Motorcycle legend Kevin Schwantz will be racing on four wheels this year. The former Daytona 200 winner will run in selected NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events, including the inaugural August 23-25 race at Watkins Glen International. NASCAR's newest touring series will visit the famed Finger Lakes road circuit for the first time in 1996, joining the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour and SCCA World Challenge to race on the Glen's 2.45-mile NASCAR Circuit. The weekend will bring many new racers to the Glen, including Schwantz. "NASCAR racing is something I've watched since I was a kid," said Schwantz, who was the first American to have his Grand Prix rider number (#34) retired. "It's something that's really gotten my attention. I think as a spectator sport it's one of the greatest out there. That's what I want to be involved in." Schwantz has 26 Grand Prix victories to his credit, winning the 1993 500cc World Championship, the pinnacle of motorcycle competition, to fulfill a long-time dream. The 31-year-old Paige, Texas rider has been competing since 1974. He joined the Grand Prix circuit in 1986, winning his first Grand Prix that year in Suzuka, Japan. Schwantz won the 1988 Daytona 200 by Arai Superbike race, bettering his runnerup finish in 1986. The Suzuki factory rider also won the 1987 Transatlantic Trophy. Schwantz, who retired from motorcycle racing midway through the 1995 season, made an impressive stock car debut during a recent series in Australia. He plans to join the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Tour on June 9, on the road course at Topeka, Kansas. He will drive a truck co-owned by fellow Texan John Mecom and Kurt Roehrig. "It seems like the road courses suit me a bit more than the ovals do right now, so we're going to save a road course to make our first impression," Schwantz said. "Racing a car -- or truck -- is definitely different. It's all still a sense of feel -- how much feedback you can get back from the car, the bike, whatever it may be that you're racing. It seems like I've made the change fairly easily. "My goal for this year is to get out there and make it into the races," Schwantz continued. "I'm just trying to get some time. I don't expect to go out and start winning races here in the states. I just want to finish, and get as much experience as I can." Helping Schwantz prepare for his Craftsman Truck debut is Johnny Benson, the defending NASCAR Busch Grand National champion and current leading rookie in the Winston Cup division. Benson also will drive the Roehrig truck in selected races. "I did a test in a truck with Johnny Benson last year at Tuscon," Schwantz explained. "Johnny sat in the truck and made sure he felt it was set up properly. I got in the truck after that, and he helped me with lines, ideas and just trying to help me adapt to the truck -- how to brake, accelerate and how to be smooth. The transition was not to drive into the corners so hard and jump on the brakes like we do in motorcycle racing, but to make the transition real smooth." Schwantz has competed in many of the world's top Grand Prix circuits on his Suzuki, but he's yet to visit Watkins Glen. Ironically, he's more familiar with stock car racing at the Glen than its Formula One heritage, hosting the U.S. Grand Prix from 1961 through 1980. "I've heard a lot about Watkins Glen, and I've watched many of the NASCAR Bud at the Glen races on the television, but I've never been there," Schwantz said. "It looks like a fun place. It's definitely a demanding road course. There's a lot of guys out there who don't particularly like that, so we're going to go out there. Hopefully, at that point of the season we'll have quite a bit of testing under our belt, so we'll be ready to go."
Glen Truck Tickets on Sale Tickets are now on sale for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck/Featherlite Modified weekend, August 23-25 at Watkins Glen International. Fans can take advantage of special advance discount prices for the weekend, which also includes the SCCA World Challenge. The advance sale price for a weekend general admission ticket is $25, or $20 for Sunday only. The advance price for a paddock ticket, which includes limited garage access, is $7. General admission tickets includes seating in all of the Watkins Glen International grandstands, which will not be reserved for the event. After August 12, the weekend price is $30, with a Sunday-only ticket priced at $25 and the paddock at $10. For additional information or to place credit card orders for the Glen's NASCAR Craftsman Truck/Featherlite Modified doubleheader or any other WGI weekend, call (607) 535-2481.
Children Free at WGI! Watkins Glen International will continue its long-standing tradition of allowing children free to the famed racing circuit. Children aged 12 and under are admitted to the facility and paddock free of charge, when accompanied by a paying adult. This policy will be in affect at all WGI spectator weekends. The 1996 season opens with the June 7-9 IMSA Six Hours of the Glen. The Lysol 200 for the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series is June 28-30, followed by the SCCA Glen Nationals July 13-14. The Bud at the Glen weekend is set for August 8-11, including Friday RCA Qualifying Day; the Burnham Boilers 150 for the NASCAR Busch North Grand National Series and Serengeti Eyewear SCCA Trans-Am Championship on Saturday, and the 10th anniversary Bud at the Glen NASCAR Winston Cup Series spectacular on Sunday. The new NASCAR Craftsman Trucks/Featherlite Modified weekend is August 23-25, with the Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix closing the season Sept. 6-8. Children, regardless of age, will still be required to purchase Pit Roof seat tickets; reserved grandstand seats for the Bud at the Glen; and fan hospitality packages. For additional information, call (607) 535-2481.