The Glen gets a facelift, full track on NASCAR's radar

Historic Watkins Glen begins repaving project, 'The Boot' could be added for future NASCAR competition.

When Joey Logano won at Watkins Glen, little did he know that part of his celebration would include destroying the site of his first road course win.

On Sunday, after Logano received the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen trophy, he was handed a broom for sweeping both the Cup and Xfinity Series events. Then the Team Penske racer climbed into a backhoe and proceeded to bust up the asphalt.

After finally winning road course race, it was understandable that Logano had mixed emotions regarding the resurfacing of the track.

“As soon as we figured out how to win here, they're going to tear the racetrack apart,” Logano said. “That figures.”

Getting underway

WGI president Michael Printup told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that the project would include “the entire course — the long course and the short course.” 

“We’re completely ripping it up,” Printup said. “In some places all the way to the ground, in some places not. We do core samples and we study them like every other race track. So we’re going to do a whole redo. We’re going to shut down for the rest of the year because we have another 80 days of racing that we typically do after NASCAR, but we’re going to rip it up and put a whole new asphalt system down.

“The way I put it, our state here in New York spends a million dollars per mile to put down asphalt, we’re going to spend between three and four million dollars a mile. So it will be about a $12 million project to finish out this racetrack and make it perfect for next year.”

Printup says engineers laser-measured the track to keep the degrees of banking true to its original design. 

“All the track will remain the same — obviously the track has degraded,” Printup added. “Like every other track that has done this before, we laser the track and then the computers will put it all together and then we lay the asphalt right straight back down again. It will take another two-and-a-half months — maybe three months with the weather to get it all back down. 

“We’re a little bit different because we’re not an oval. And the big thing is, we have concrete in the corners. That was done from inertia issues and load and lift many, many years ago. So we’re going to pull the concrete out — and some guys, and some gals, like that concrete. You’ve got a little stick in there and if you know how to throw your back end around through the corners.

"But otherwise, I think we’re going to add a little more stickiness down and it might be a little bit faster next year.”

Boot-y call?

Although Printup says “nothing will change with the configuration” that’s not entirely true where NASCAR is concerned. NASCAR Senior Vice President Steve O’Donnell says the sanctioning body is considering adding the boot — another 0.95-miles to the circuit for the 2016 races.

“We’re discussing it with the track,” O’Donnell told the NASCAR Wire Service. “It’s something  we’re looking at down the road.”

The Glen actually finished repaving the boot — the sections that completes the long course which includes Turns 6 through 9 — prior to last weekend’s events. The 3.40-mile long course has not been used in NASCAR racing since NASCAR returned to the track in 1986. 

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About this article
Event Watkins Glen
Track Watkins Glen International
Drivers Joey Logano
Teams Team Penske
Article type Breaking news