Post Card from NASCAR weekend at Watkins Glen

I’m on a roll this season, another perfect weekend spent at the race track as a marshal playing with race cars! This weekend I spend a very enjoyable few days flagging the NASCAR races at Watkins Glen International with the Race Services Inc. crew. I was assigned station 9 short for Friday, station 6 on Saturday and station 16 on Sunday. Station 9 is a temporary station driver’s left in the shute, since NASCAR does not use the Boot configuration, on Friday the NASCAR K&N series support race took place along with practice for the NASCAR Xfinity and NASCAR Sprint Cup series. Station 6 is at the entrance to the bus stop, also driver’s left. On Saturday the NASCAR Xfinity series had an exciting race, after a quali session for both Xfinity and Sprint Cup series. Station 16 is driver’s right, the last turn before the final turn for the start finish straight. On Sunday only the Sprint Cup series race took place, but I had an incredible time volunteering for something else: spectator / fan crossings at the entry to the pit lane. It was an incredible opportunity to meet NASCAR fans, take pictures of them with the checkered flag and some even took pictures with me as an “official” and have a bunch of short chats in the process. It was awesome!

watkins glen nascar fan crossings

The drive up to Watkins Glen on Thursday morning was really uneventful, but quick and enjoyable. I made a pit stop at the Sheetz in Pennsylvania for a nice lunch on the go. And then had a delicious calzone at Jerlando’s in Montour Falls just south of the track. I also ordered a few more calzones to have for the weekend. Not really thinking the idea through. It was rather warm on Friday and Saturday but my calzones didn’t go bad, which was good. My face did get burned on Friday because I forgot my lucky orange hat at home. I wore a bandana to protect my scalp from the sun, which resulted in a very interesting sun burn pattern.

watkins glen nascar road trip sheets pennsylvania

The calzone was nothing like what I’ve had before. The upstate NY version is very different from what we have in New Jersey or NYC.

watkins glen calzone montour falls jerlando's

After setting up my tent, I went for a walk about the track. Made it all the way through to the infield. Took some pictures of a cool blue Miata just like mine, at the Medical center.

watkins glen nascar weekend mazda miata

watkins glen nascar my rig tent

watkins glen nascar spectator campers

Took some great shots of the NASCAR haulers entering the track, and eventually parking in the infield as well as along the curves of the Boot.

watkins glen nascar xfinity series

watkins glen nascar haulers

watkins glen nascar the boot haulers

I’ll write another post about the going on’s during the race weekend but I’ll end this preview with the well planned and throughout running of the track at Watkins Glen International. Particularly while leaving the track. After we got off station, and got back to the RSI campground it took me less than an hour to break down my tent and pack everything up. Everyone was saying I’d be sitting in traffic for hours to get home, but the reality was very different. I breezed through the roads leading to the highway, because the State Police created a traffic pattern that turned the two lane (one in each direction) country road into a three lane one way (out bound) funnel to get all the traffic out. This was one of my fastest departures from WGI!

leaving wgi three lane road with no traffic

I had made a few more pit stops along the way on the drive home, one of them at a gas station to add a splash of fuel (it’s a bit more expensive upstate NY than in NJ). And the stations that were most visible on my drive were Sunoco, which of course are the official fuel supplier of NASCAR… how cool to see everyday life relate to racing!

splash of fuel upstate new york at sunoco the official fuel of nascar

I am so glad that I got an opportunity to work the NASCAR event at WGI. I will describe in greater detail what happened and why I had such a great time, but suffice to say I had an amazing time and can’t wait to go back for more. WGI has been closed for the rest of the season to re-pave the track, so my most likely trip there will be sometime next year. And I’m very much looking forward to it!

 

Gas mileage: Best Yet! 38.25 mpg  drove for 519.5 miles, used 13.58 gallons, paid $37.01 total. Cheapest fill up in NJ 2.659 and a splash in Upstate New York at $2.899 used the Gas Buddy app, to find a Sunoco station about an hour away from Watkins Glen, last time I foolishly paid over $3.199 for the same gas. Live and learn!