Tag Archives: Montour Falls

Post Card from the Sahlen’s 6 hour at the Glen Paddock

Greetings from the Independence Day Weekend at Watkins Glen… The Sahlen’s 6 hour at the Glen paddock filled up slowly. I arrived Wednesday afternoon, went for a wonder around the paddock and only saw some Porsche GT3 Cup, Lamborghini Super Trofeo Huracan’s and LMP3/Mazda Prototype Challenge cars unloaded. But as the weekend went on and more trailers moved in there was a lot to look at. Especially all those cars with patriotic wraps on them…

some pix:

I hate camping, especially with the threat of severe weather, luckily my tent only took on a little bit of water.

This 911 put on quite a smoke show when I approached… got oil?

I love the fact they mixed the US and Canadian series for this weekend. It had some crazy side affects due to a crash that I got to witness on their Race 1 but still nice to see a 40 car field of GT3’s.

The weirdest thing for me with these pace cars was that a Porsche started the Platinum group during the GT3 race, but an Audi started the Gold group… couldn’t they source another 911 somewhere?

At least the Mazda started their Prototype Challenge races.

…and it’s a pretty RF model with Global MX-5 Cup wheels!

Anybody wanna buy a Norma LMP3?

My usual cruise to Jerlando’s in Montour Falls for some faux-Italian:

New sign: Welcome to Watkins Glen!

Top of the Esses selfie, day one working solo.

And as the paddock filled in, more IMSA stuff to check out:

Love that bucket of fries I got a chance to lunch on one of the days…

more to follow…

Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Race at Watkins Glen International May 2016

Once I saw the schedule for the brand spanking new Global Mazda MX-5 Cup I quickly signed up to marshal it. Immediately following the debut at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last week, the Series tracked across the country to Upstate New York for their second race of the season at Watkins Glen playing a support role to the NARRA and Trans Am series.

I’ve been a huge fan of the Playboy MX-5 Cup which I credit with the reason for my buying an NC Miata of my own. Since I’ve been using my car as a marshaling rig to travel to various circuits including Watkins Glen International, Thompson Speedway in New England and even a trip down to Florida for St. Pete GP and Sebring 12 hour earlier this year where I visited Long Road Racing on the way home in North Carolina. The reason I mention LRR is because they make all the cars (hand built) that participate in this Global MX-5 Cup series and those parallel ones that happen around the world. Who’d thunk it?

The new Global MX-5 Cup cars are incredible and the field is huge pushing over 40 cars on the grid which almost guarantees incidents and accidents. Thanks also to the rain that blessed us this weekend there was a ton of cars that crashed including a major smash-up right under the start stand when the green flag was thrown. I was super privileged to work as a Starter this weekend and was amazed to see all the cars on pit lane staging for their race. I also got to work turn 7 where the cars were taking the fairly sharp turn at over 60mph which seems incredible to me.

Enough talking and here’s some photos from the paddock walk I did on Thursday as the cars were unloaded… the hardest part was selecting the pictures to share as I took hundreds of them…

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The first car I saw was plain vanilla… body in white.

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But the rest were like Skittles, all colors of the rainbow!

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Check facebook for more pictures from this event. Amazing event!!!

I loved it!

PS. Even the Pace Car was a new ND MX-5 Miata:

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Mazda Road to 24 – #MRT24

NASCAR Cheez-It 355 at the Glen the debrief

I think the only person that had more fun than I did at this weekend’s NASCAR races at Watkins Glen International was Joey Logano who won both the Xfinity Series race on Saturday and the Sprint Cup race on Sunday. Well, maybe he had more fun, his lengthy burn-out at the end of the race almost burned the racecar down. But I got to watch the whole thing while marshaling, and that was neat!

The coolest thing about working with RSI at WGI is you get rotate stations every day you volunteer, so that’s three opportunities to check out different views every day. I got to work Station 9 short on Friday for the K&N race, Station 6 on Saturday for the Xfinity race, and be one of the flaggers at Station 16 for the Srpint Cup race on Sunday.

watkins glen nascar station 9 short shute

Friday I was a bit unprepared, forgot my lucky orange hat at home, and my bandana did a horrible job protecting my face from the sun. I got a very unique tan line for the rest of the weekend as a result.

watkins glen nascar station 6 flags

We had plenty of shade on Saturday, but I still managed to make a goofy mistake. It is RSI protocol to call “heads-up” from Station 6 to Station 7 for any car that decides to skip the bus stop. While working Station 9 the previous day I heard race control mention that heads-up weren’t necessary because there were so many of them. So I assumed that was the case for Saturday. I was wrong. My buddy Pat worked Station 7 and said he would have liked a few heads up because they nearly missed their calls when the cars blew the stop as required before rejoining the track after the bus stop. Oops!

watkins glen nascar station 16

Not much really happened on Sunday. But since we had a grand stand directly behind us (the Jackie Stewart Grand Stand) we had a big jumbotron directly in front of us. So we got to watch the entire race which included seeing the run-away wheel that rolled from pit lane all the way down the track and back up towards the Esses stopping after Station 2. And the car that caught on fire after Joey Logano celebrated with a huge burnout winning his second race of the weekend. We saw the car ahead of him run out of fuel directly in front of us, that was neat. To my surprise the race finished under Green which seems pretty unusual for NASCAR because at times the Green, White, Checkered is almost manufactured…

watkins glen nascar station 16 jackie stewart grand stand

Most of the pictures came out pretty dark because the sun was really bright and any pictures in the shade resulted in dark faces.

As far as best station assignment for the weekend, each one offered a unique perspective. I loved watching the cars run beyond track limits full speed at station 9, they came out right by us often spraying us with grass and other small debris.

watkins glen nascar station 9 flags

For the K&N Pro Series race I noticed a cool sticker job on one of the old Toyotas… the Kobe Toyopet dealership was listed as a sponsor. I had no idea that NASCAR was big in Japan!

watkins glen nascar k&n series

From Station 6 the views were probably the best! We didn’t really get to use the “Loop Closed” sign, but both Blue and Yellow flags got a work out that’s for sure. I had to rush to get Red out also, once.

watkins glen nascar station 6

watkins glen nascar station 6 bus stop

The racing line was right under our noses, with the station designed to put us over and close to the track behind the catch fence. Meanwhile station 16 was re-designed recently which eliminated the necessary cutout for the flagger to stand in, and instead they covered it with larger catch fencing and a small hole cut out for us.

watkins glen nascar TV car

Most of my day on Sunday I spend volunteering at the entry to pit lane. We helped work the crossings so that spectators and some die hard NASCAR fans among them could cross the actual track from Gate 5 towards the Bog. Many of them wandered into the pit lane, and most wanted to take a picture with our checkered or yellow flags. I worked with Pat and Beth who I spend a lot of time with this weekend, and it was a very enjoyable experience. NASCAR fans are some of the most devoted fans I’ve come across, something akin to the European endurance racing fans you meet at Le Mans. Some were, and would happily admit to being rednecks, but not all fans were necessarily in that category, I saw them as die hard racing fans who really celebrated their favorite drivers. For the littlelest fans in that group we had some real NASCAR lug nuts that Dave the pit lane chief scooped up for us the day before, and we were handing them out to the small kids walking through our crossing. I think that really gave them a kick and an experience they weren’t expecting.

watkins glen nascar lug nuts for the kids

The crossing job went on right to the point of other marshals getting delivered to their stations. So we went straight to our posts skipping the morning meeting, etc. I went to Station 16 while Pat and Beth worked Station 17 which is the last turn before Start/Finish.

I was hungry as ever, luckily there was this nice food stand at the bottom of Jackie Stewart grand stand and for $9 bux I had an enjoyable meal before the race.

fast food at wgi for nascar

As I mentioned previously the race ended pretty quickly and under Green flag conditions, so it was back to the RSI campsite to pack up. One of my favorite sights at the campsite was this OFF sticker on a few cars, the “Old Farts Flagging” Society. And it’s a sticker I had nothing to do with it’s creating. But I think it’s very funny.

wgi flag old farts flagging society

I am very much looking forward to my next trip to WGI! What an amazing experience this NASCAR weekend was.

 

BTW. there’s an interesting observation about NASCAR. Friday I used the wrong blue flag to work the race. I was always under the impression that the Blue flag with a Yellow stripe was an official NASCAR flag because you can clearly see it on most ISC circuit logos like Daytona for example. But it turns out that was not the case. For Saturday and Sunday I learned that the solid Blue flag must be used. Not only that, much like the FIA, NASCAR uses all waved flags on stations, and we got to wave the Blue, the Yellow and the Red. It’s ironic that typically in the US all flags are displayed stationary, but it seems when it comes to road courses NASCAR is much like the FIA!