Watkins Glen magic alive for Dobson WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (May 28th, 1998) For Dominic Dobson, driver of the No. 78 MCI/Mopar Dodge Ram, there's no track so rich in history nor as demanding as Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, NY. ...
Watkins Glen magic alive for Dobson
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (May 28th, 1998) For Dominic Dobson, driver of the No. 78 MCI/Mopar Dodge Ram, there's no track so rich in history nor as demanding as Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, NY.
This weekend he returns to the site where some of his Grand Prix heroes made history in the Parts America 150, as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series heads to the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York and one of the most fabled race courses in the world.
"At one time, champagne soaked the uniforms of drivers victorious in the U.S. Grand Prix," said Dobson of a long-ago Formula One race that unfolded for many years at Watkins Glen. "They were my heroes -- legendary Grand Prix drivers such as Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill, Gilles Villeneuve, Niki Lauda and Ronnie Peterson -- all of them.
"There's so much history here. My return to Watkins Glen gives me goose bumps."
Like so many successful race car drivers, Dobson started in karts, lapping the local tracks around the forested sections of Seattle. His father, a flagman for the sports car races at Seattle International Raceway during the 1960s, often made the trips with Dominic in tow.
"After following drivers like Mark Donohue and Parnelli Jones in the Can-Am series, I knew from that point on I wanted to be a race car driver," Dobson said. "I watched all the races at Watkins Glen whenever we could get them on TV."
Thus was the foundation for a young man who would one day go on to trace the footsteps of American racing pioneers by racing at Watkins Glen and eclipsing that with seven trips to the "Greatest American Spectacle" -- the Indianapolis 500.
"In retrospect, 1988 was one of the most memorable years I've had in my racing career," Dobson said. "In that year came my first pole position in a race at The Glen in the Camel Lights series of IMSA as well as my rookie appearance at the Indianapolis 500."
Dobson went on to be named the fastest rookie qualifier at the speedway that same year and named most consistent qualifier in 1992.
Fast forward to 1998. NASCAR has brought NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racing back to Watkins Glen after hosting the first Parts America 150 in 1997. All five Dodge Ram entries will be equipped with a sleeker, more aerodynamic front grill and valance and according to Dobson, testing has shown some improvements resulting in better downforce and less drag.
"Our goal is capitalize on our strengths here and qualify in the top-10 of the field. If we can qualify that high then I think a top-5 finish is not out of the question," he said. "The PacWest S/T Motorsports team, MCI and Dodge are really looking forward to this road race, and I can't think of a better place to give them our best performance than at Watkins Glen."
Source: NASCAR Online