Craig Rust, president of Watkins Glen International, announced on Saturday, September 7 that Phil Walters has been named "Driver of the Decade" for the 1948-1957 time period. Walters is the sixth and final driver honored with the title "Driver of the Decade" and joins Graham Hill, Sir Jackie Stewart, Al Holbert, Mark Martin and Tony Stewart as a member of the inaugural induction class of "Legends of The Glen."
During a ceremony held in the Media Center, Rust presented a hand-blown vase from Vitrix Hot Glass Studio in Corning, NY to two members of the Walters family. Sheila Walters, Walter's widow, and Phil Walters, Jr., his son and Jennifer Walters his granddaughter were on hand to accept the award from Rust.
"It is an honor for us to recognize Phil Walters and his accomplishments and induct him as the sixth and final 'Driver of the Decade' during our U.S. Vintage Grand Prix weekend," said Rust. "Phil was one of the best racers of his time and we are proud to host his family and present them with this award during our 60th anniversary year. He will always be a part of our storied history here at Watkins Glen International."
When Sheila Walters was asked if this was like a trip down memory lane, she reflected by saying, "(in the past) the racing was very exciting for both him and I, and the people here always made us feel so welcome. This weekend has been no different," stated S. Walters. "This has been a very special event for us. We love this."
hil Walter's Jr. was also very impressed with his first visit to Watkins Glen. "I was 2 years old when he raced, so this was the closest that I could get to seeing him run at The Glen."
Walters was the first driver to demonstrate the type of domination that only the best drivers exhibited at The Glen. Walters first came to Watkins Glen when the races were still run through the streets of the small upstate New York Village and claimed the
1950 Seneca Cup for his first victory at Watkins Glen. He returned to victory lane two more times over the next four years but each time it was of the marquee race, the 1951 and 1954 Watkins Glen Grand Prix. Walters was not satisfied with simply three victories during that decade, he also set the track record for the original street course and still hold it to this day.
Walters was selected for the honor by a six-member panel of Glen experts. The criteria were, 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.
Celebrate 60 years of racing in the village of Watkins Glen during the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, September 5-7. Tickets are still available! Weekend adult tickets are only $45 and kids ages 12 and under are FREE with the purchase of an adult ticket. Sunday admission is only $30 for adults. All tickets provide access to the grandstands, the garage and paddock areas and participation in the autograph sessions, fan forum and Q&A sessions with Brian Redman. For tickets or more information call 866-461-RACE, or visit our official website at www.TheGlen.com.