State Senator Tom O’Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and Assemblyman Chris Friend welcomed Watkins Glen International (WGI) President Michael Printup, WGI Vice President Andrew Smith, and race car driver Katherine Legge to the State Capitol to celebrate the contributions of motorsports to the economy and culture of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, and statewide.
Legge has been racing since the age of seven and currently competes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and races the Acura NSX with Michael Shank Racing. She is also the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador for Girl Scouts.
Together, the group officially opened a New York State Motorsports Exhibit in the Empire State Plaza and both houses of the State Legislature adopted a legislative resolution sponsored by O’Mara, Palmesano and Friend (J4056/K896) proclaiming March 11-17, 2018 as “Motorsports Appreciation Week” in New York.
In a joint statement, O’Mara, Palmesano and Friend said, “It is our privilege to join our legislative colleagues in paying tribute to one of the world’s iconic sporting venues. Across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, we all take great pride in the fact that The Glen has resonated so powerfully throughout the history of American motorsports for more than six decades. Watkins Glen International has long stood as a mainstay of our regional culture and economy. It is one of New York State’s premier destinations, a backbone of our leading tourism industry, and a driving force for countless charitable, community service and economic development initiatives. Very simply, we’re fortunate to call Watkins Glen International one of our own.”
This year Motorsports Appreciation Week exhibit features the legacy of NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week, now in its 47th year. The legendary modified stock car driver Brett Hearn and his renowned Madsen Motorsports No. 20 car, a winner of nearly 900 races over a career spanning four decades, represent the Super DIRTcar Series. Hearn’s No. 20 cars joins NASCAR and IMSA racing machines on display from this week at the Empire State Plaza.
WGI was lauded for being home to the state’s largest sporting event, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend each August, which attracts fans from all 50 states and 16 countries around the world. WGI events annually generate over $200 million in economic activity across the region and account for more than 2,000 local jobs. The Senate-Assembly resolution, which received unanimous approval, reads, in part, “Having a global fan base in the millions, motorsports is one of the most popular and fastest growing sports in the world.”
WGI celebrated its 65th Anniversary in 2014. The following year, in a USA Today online readers’ poll, The Glen was selected as “America’s Best NASCAR Track.” Located within five hours of 25% of the United States population, WGI is the premier road racing facility in North America.