A new book on the history of Watkins Glen International racetrack will launch at the International Motor Racing Research Center on Saturday, May 18. The book launch event is free and open to the public. In a statement released by the IMRRC on Tuesday, center historian Bill Green said the book “is an excellent review of history at Watkins Glen in pictures, over the many, many years, bringing the track to the forefront of world-class racing.” The book will not only cover the track’s history with NASCAR but also with Formula 1 as well as its early “street years.”
The book is written by Green and award-winning motor sports author Michael Argetsinger. Titled “Watkins Glen International,” the volume is the second pictorial history in a new NASCAR track series published by Arcadia and is due to be released in early May. The book will be available for purchase and signing at the IMRRC on the 18th.
At 1 p.m. that day at the International Motor Racing Research Center, both Mr. Argetsinger and Mr. Green will give a talk about the track’s history from the original road races brought to the small village of Watkins Glen by Argetsinger’s father, Cameron R. Argetsinger, in 1948 through the most recent NASCAR race weekend held in 2012. Selections of photographs from the book, several coming from the authors’ own private collections, will be shown and discussed in a slideshow accompanying their discussion.
Argetsinger’s most recent book before this was “Formula One at Watkins Glen: 20 Years of the United States Grand Prix 1961-1980,” a 2011 partnership with the IMRRC and Bull Publishing. That book was a finalist for the 2011 Dean Batchelor Award, presented by the Motor Press Guild. He is also the author of “Walt Hansgen: His Life and the History of Post-War American Road Racing,” which received a Gold Medal for biography and was named Best of Books for 2006 at the International Automotive Media Awards. “Mark Donohue: Technical Excellence at Speed,” Argetsinger’s second book, was also named Best of Books by the IAMA and won the overall competition as Best of 2009. The photo companion to the biography, “Mark Donohue: His Life in Photographs,” was published in 2010.
About his new project, the Chicago native said, “Bill [Green] and I felt a responsibility to make this an important historical record as well as an entertaining read.” He added that working with his old friend “was a particular delight.”
The new book marks Bill Green’s second collaborative effort. With J. J. O’Malley, in 1998, he co-authored “Watkins Glen, From Griswold to Gordon: Fifty Years of Competition at the Home of American Road Racing.” Mr. Green attended the first road race in Watkins Glen as a child in 1948, when he bought his first race program. He has been a race materials collector ever since, amassing a collection that now extends beyond 3,000 items comprised of books, programs, posters, results, and other things.
Besides Argetsinger and Green speaking on May 18th, Philippe Defechereux and Clark Lance will also be on hand at the IMRRC to discuss Defechereux’s book “Watkins Glen, The Street Years 1948-1952, Glory, Drama and the Birth of American Road Racing.” Lance’s father, Harold, was the photographer of many of the photos used in the book. Copies of this book, now available in hardcover, will be also be available for purchase and signing.
The International Motor Racing Research Center is an archival library dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports, of all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials.
For more information about the Center’s work and its programs, visit www.racingarchives.org or call (607) 535-9044.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. is the author of several books and is currently working on a new book about racers and racing with a historic racer from upstate New York.