Honorees Will Be the First Class Inducted into "Legends of The Glen"
The list of legendary drivers that have graced the streets of Watkins Glen and the twists of Watkins Glen International is almost second to none. The stars of all forms of racing - sportscar, open-wheel, and stock car – have come to The Glen for 60 years and many have left their everlasting mark on its history. As part of the 60th Anniversary of racing in The Glen, a selection committee of esteemed Glen experts analyzed the six decades that make up The Glen's history and determined the "Driver of the Decade" for each 10-year time period. The fortunate drivers that were selected will be members of the first class ever inducted into The Glen’s hall-of-fame, the “Legends of The Glen.”
Everyone that has ever been associated with the village of Watkins Glen and/or Watkins Glen International knows of the pride that comes from being the birth place of post-World War II American road racing. Numerous drivers accumulated impressive career stats at The Glen which made the job of the selection committee to pick the best of the best all the more difficult. A very specific list of criteria was provided to the committee to help them determine the most deserving drivers. The criteria was, in order of importance, number of Glen victories, number of Top-5 finishes, number of Top-10 finishes, average finish, records set, and the significance/impact of their performances. The committee was required to consider the results from one decade at a time with the breakdown being as follows: 1948-1957, 1958-1967, 1968-1977, 1978-1987, 1988-1997, or 1998-2007. Drivers could be nominated for more than one decade but their stats could not carryover from one decade to the next.
The “Driver of the Decade” selection committee was comprised of six individuals that combined for over 150 years of motorsports experience. The individuals tasked with selecting the cream of the racing crop were Craig Rust, president of Watkins Glen International; Bill Green, historian for Watkins Glen International; J.J. O’Malley, former director of communications of Watkins Glen International; Chris Gill, motorsports beat writer for The Leader; Chris P. Bacon, radio voice of “Track Talk” and 100.9 the Pig for the Twin Tiers at Backyard Broadcasting; and Henry “Hank” Kimball, a participant in many Glen racing events over the last 40 years. Drivers were selected through the use of a weighted voting system, similar to those used to determine other sports’ awards such as the Heisman Trophy. The selection process involved an opening round of discussion to nominate specific drivers and was followed by two rounds of voting. In the first round of voting, each committee member voted for up to six nominees with 1st place votes worth six points, 2nd place votes worth five points, and so on. The three drivers that received the most points moved on to the second round. In the second round, members again used a weighted vote with 1st place votes worth three points, 2nd place votes worth two points, and 3rd place votes worth one point. The driver that received the most points won the title of “Driver of the Decade” for that period of 10 years. Fans will have the opportunity to make their voices heard as to who they think will be named “Driver of the Decade” using a live poll located on the “Buy Tickets” page on TheGlen.com starting on Friday, April 25. This poll will change every three weeks so fans are encouraged to come back and vote each time.
The six winning drivers will be announced over the course of the 2008 season during the four larger event weekends; the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, June 6-8, Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen, July 4-6, Centurion Boats at The Glen, August 7-10, and the final driver during the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, September 5-7. These drivers will make up the first class inducted into the new WGI hall-of-fame, the “Legends of The Glen.” At the end of the 2008
season, the “Driver of the Decade” selection committee will become the selection committee for the future members of the “Legends of The Glen.” The committee will meet at the end of each year to evaluate potential inductees and then elect a maximum of four honorees. Drivers, owners, track officials, and anyone that has had an immense impact on racing in The Glen will be eligible for election into the “Legends of The Glen.”
Tickets for the historic 60th Anniversary Season at Watkins Glen International are on-sale now at an advance price until April 27th! This year the season kicks-off with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, June 6-7 paired with the NASCAR Camping World Series’ East Division on Sunday, June 8. General admission tickets for Kids 12 and under are FREE during the June 6-8 and July 4-6 event weekends when accompanied by an adult. Open-wheel racing returns for the 4th of July weekend during the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen, July 4-6, and the Centurion Boats at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup and Zippo 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series weekend highlights the summer action, August 7-10. For more tickets and more information, please contact the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official website www.TheGlen.com.
About the Selection Committee
Craig Rust was named president of Watkins Glen International in April 2002 and currently serves as president of both WGI and Nazareth Speedway. He was appointed president of Nazareth Speedway, located in the Lehigh Valley, in January 2000. Prior to Nazareth Speedway, Rust was the director of marketing and sales at California Speedway (now Autoclub Speedway), where he entered the motorsports industry in 1996 with Penske Motorsports during the development of that facility. He also serves on the board of the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, NY.
Bill Green has witnessed an overwhelming majority of the racing events held in The Glen since he was a spectator during the first race on October 2, 1948. The lifelong Schuyler County resident has been the official historian for Watkins Glen International since the track reopened in 1984. He has also been a member of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) for 50 years, the SCCA Glen Region historian since 1974, historian for the International Motor Racing Research Center since December 2001, and co-authored two books about the history of racing in Watkins Glen.
J.J. O’Malley was the director of communications at Watkins Glen International for 14 years before moving to a similar position at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 1998. He currently is senior editor at RacingOne Multimedia in Daytona Beach, FL, a position he has held since 2001. He has co-authored two books on the history of racing in Watkins Glen with Bill Green. His other books include the history of the Daytona 24 Hours, and Daytona 500: 50 Years collector’s edition published earlier this year. He is a member of the Road Racing Drivers Club and covers Grand-Am and Indy Cars on RacingOne.com.
Chris Gill currently covers auto racing for the Corning, NY daily newspaper The Leader and has been staffing events at Watkins Glen International for 10 years. He has been a lifelong resident of the Southern Tier and attended races at The Glen for many years prior to his current occupation. He has won the New York State Publishers and Associated Press awards for his writing and has interviewed everyone from local track champions to Mario Andretti.
Chris P. Bacon has been with Backyard Broadcasting and WPGI-FM since June 1994. “Bacon”, as he is known to his listeners, has served as the program director, production director, Morning Show host, and currently Afternoon Drive host for the station over the past 14 years. He was also one of the founders of the local racing talk show “Track Talk” and has been the radio voice for the Twin Tiers from Watkins Glen
International during that same time period.
Henry “Hank” Kimball has been a participant in racing events at The Glen for over 40 years. He was a team member of the ATS Formula One Grand Prix team from 1978 through 1982. Kimball is also a council member for the International Motor Racing Research Center and is the owner of the Kimball Realty Group located in Elmira, NY.