Watkins Glen International enlists Varsha, Lally, Bell to help unveil new surface

Watkins Glen International has announced details for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially kick off a highly-anticipated season on a repaved racing surface on Friday, April 15th.

Master of Ceremonies Bob Varsha will be joined by special guests Andy Lally and Derek Bell, a pair of drivers who know their way to victory lane with ten sportscar victories at the historic road course between them.

The ceremony, scheduled for 11:15 a.m., will feature remarks from Lally and Bell, in addition to local and state government officials, and Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup.

“We are thrilled to have Bob Varsha to emcee this historic day at Watkins Glen International, as well as Andy and Derek, who are two of the most successful sportscar drivers here,” Printup said. “It’s going to be a celebration. April 15th is the culmination of a lot of hard work by many people.”

The repave, which doubles as the first completed Priority Project of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, began in August after the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It™ 355.

Following the on-stage activities, select Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) cars will take part in a ceremonial “first lap” on the new surface. Watkins Glen International partners and members of the media will then be invited to take part in hot laps around the 3.40-mile circuit, followed by an additional period of SVRA activity from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Fans are invited to view the on-track festivities free of charge in the Argetsinger and Seneca grandstands by entering through Gate 2 off of County Route 16. The Toyota Green Grand Prix is scheduled to follow Friday’s ceremonial events.  

The 3.4-mile Arc Grand Prix Run at Watkins Glen International kicks off at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 16 with the event raising over $20,000 since 2014 for the not-for-profit organization that provides support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Register today at www.arcgrandprixrun.org.  

Opening Weekend fueled by Kwik Fill Red Apple continues later Saturday and on Sunday, April 17 with the opportunity for the public to take their personal vehicles on track, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., behind an official WGI pace vehicle, for just $25 benefitting the R.A.C.E. (Racing and Community Enrichment) Foundation, which will have commemorative t-shirts and pieces of the old racing surface for sale. Fans can also take advantage of on-site ticket sales featuring advance pricing while at the track.