Watkins Glen Preview

Time to Go Racing! Race season gets underway this weekend with the running of the First Union Six Hours of the Glen, featuring the Exxon World SportsCars and Exxon GT in a six hour event. Last year's race saw the...

Time to Go Racing!

Race season gets underway this weekend with the running of the First Union Six Hours of the Glen, featuring the Exxon World SportsCars and Exxon GT in a six hour event.

Last year's race saw the lead change hands four times in the final 20 minutes. Ferrari driver Max Papis spun twice (with help!) in the final hour, but battled back to snatch the lead from Butch Leitzinger with only two mintues remaining. "Mad Max" won't be back, but the Momo Ferrari 333SP is again the car to beat. Gianpiero Moretti has a new Italian sensation at the wheel, former F-1 test driver Andrea Montermini. Didier Theys will join the team for the Glen and the 24 Hours of LeMans later in June.

Montermini will contend with a pair of Dyson Fords, with a driver lineup including Butch Leitzinger, James Weaver and new SportsCar points leader Elliott Forbes-Robinson, plus a pair of ex-Scandia Ferraris. Two drivers from Tuesday's Indy 500 are on the Ferrari lineup, Fermin Velez and Eliseo Salazar. Velez was the points leader entering Monday's race at Lime Rock, but the rained-delayed spectacle forced him to miss the race.

Scott Goodyear, runnerup in the Indy 500, leads the GT Supreme lineup, running a Porsche in the Six Hours. Among his competition are Jason Priestely -- who led overall at Lime Rock; Irv Hoerr, seeking his fourth straight at the Glen; and Hurley Haywood, the Glen's all-time leading winner.

Is Longer Better?

I only saw the first portion of Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte, but the opening 295-odd miles before the rain delays were the most intense Winston Cup action I ever saw from Charlotte. Pit strategy put Bobby Labonte ahead at the break, but in the end, Jeff Gordon came out on top. Only a few years ago, Gordon would have blown his cool on a botched pit stop early in the race. He didn't, and added the victory to his growing -- and growing -- list of accomplishments.

One Laps Begins at Glen

Fans attending this weekend's First Union Six Hours at Watkins Glen International will get an added bonus -- the start of the 14th annual Car and Driver One Lap of America.

One Lap of America will begin its 5,600-mile trek with two timed laps by each of the 100 entries on the Glen's 2.45-mile NASCAR Circuit. The rally will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, one hour after the finish of the Speedvision Cup race for Stock SportsCars.

The 250 One Lap competitors will then visit a dozen other circuits -- going as far as Las Vegas -- before concluding the rally at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, June 7. After taking the checkered flag at the Glen, competitors drive all night to Michigan International Speedway, with Sunday's schedule also including the new Gateway International Raceway in the St. Louis area.

Monday calls for a pair of stops in Colorado, at Mountain View and Second Creek, with the new oval at Las Vegas the only stop set for Tuesday. Wednesday is a travel day, wtih Thursday stops at Hallett, Oklahoma, and bracket drag racing at Memphis Motorsports Park. Friday includes Putnam Park, Indiana. The finale includes drag racing at Lancaster Speedway (near Buffalo), a street party in Wyoming, N.Y., and the final two-lap event at the Glen.

One Lap of America was created by Brock Yates of Wyoming, N.Y., who is a Car and Driver Editor at Large in addition to being a respected television commentator and prolific author.

One Lap's roots date back to the fabled "Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash," which was a no-holds-barred race from New York City to Los Angeles. In One Lap, the only speeding will take place at 13 different race tracks. All competition takes place in time trials at the various road courses and drag strips across the country, with competitors traveling between venues at legal highway speeds. The field is is open to any vehicle that is legal to drive on U.S. highways, and is limited to 100 entries.

With a 24 hour a day format, One Lap qualifies as one of the most unique and difficult events in motorsports.

"In my mind, anyone who even takes on the challenge of One Lap is a winner!" commented Yates. "It's akin to an entire racing season in a week."

The First Union Six Hour weekend begins Friday with Pole Day qualifying to set the front row for Sunday's feature. Practice begins at 11 a.m., followed by a special qualifying session for the Exxon World SportsCars. Saturday's activities begin at 8:15 a.m., and include final SportsCar qualifying and First Union Family Fun Tent in addition to the Speedvision Cup. Fireworks will follow One Lap activities. Sunday begins with the Black Magic Pro Series at 9:30, with the First Union Six Hours taking the green flag at 11 a.m.


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Series PSR
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Butch Leitzinger , James Weaver , Didier Theys , Eliseo Salazar , Scott Goodyear , Max Papis , Elliott Forbes-Robinson , Hurley Haywood , Brock Yates , Fermin Velez , Gianpiero Moretti