WGI Donates Autographed Prints to Captain and Crew of USS New York
Autographed NASCAR and IndyCar Series Prints to be on Permanent Display on the Ship
By: WGI Staff on 11/6/2009
Commander Curt Jones (right), Commanding Officer of the USS New York, and Captain Frank Pascual USNR (left) hold the autographed prints donated by WGI while on the ceremonial Quarterdeck of the ship.
Over the years, Watkins Glen International has worked very hard to show its support of the men and women of the United States military, but its most recent donation is a first for the historic road course. With the help of the drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup and IZOD IndyCar Series, The Glen was able to donate specially signed and framed prints to the captain and crew of the U.S. Navy’s newest addition – the USS New York. These prints are the only ones signed by all of the drivers from each series and are just the latest of The Glen’s efforts which have included military discounts on tickets, featuring all branches in pre-race ceremonies, supporting the Climb to Glory Charity at nearby Fort Drum, and a wide range of fly-overs.
“We are very honored that the U.S. Navy identified The Glen as an essential part of representing New York State on this great ship and are proud to do our part to support it,” said Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. “I am thrilled that the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup and IndyCar Series were able to assist us in providing a reminder to the sailors stationed on the USS New York that we greatly appreciate their efforts and sacrifices for our country.”
The top drivers of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series signed one of the event posters for the 2009 Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen that was designed by renowned artist Sam Bass. The sailors of the USS New York will find the names of almost every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver that competed at The Glen this year including 2009 race winner Tony Stewart, 4-time Glen champion Jeff Gordon, 3-time Glen winner Mark Martin, and 3-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson. The IZOD IndyCar Series print was a picture of the start of the 2009 Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen that was taken by New York Sportscene Magazine photographers William Hauser and Bill Menzel. Drivers that can be found on the print include Danica Patrick, 3-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, and 3-time Glen champion Scott Dixon. The donation was made following a request from the U.S. Navy for items and memorabilia from major sites and attractions around New York State to be placed in the soon-to-be commissioned ship. The goal is to enhance the connection between the ship and the state for which it is named as well as provide numerous displays throughout the ship to represent various aspects that have formed the culture of New York.
"On behalf of the entire crew of USS NEW YORK, I would like to express my gratitude to Watkins Glen International and all the NASCAR and IndyCar Series drivers for these magnificent prints," said Commander Curt Jones, commanding officer of the USS New York. "They will be put on permanent display in the ship where members of the crew can see and enjoy them. As a native of Binghamton, New York, I have long been a fan of motorsports and so are the members of the ship's crew. We are most grateful for the interest in our ship and the thoughtfulness in presenting these prints to us."
The USS New York is the fifth ship in the LPD 17 San Antonio class of amphibious transport dock ships to be built. It is very unique from the other four ships of this class for two specific reasons. The first, and most important, is that steel from the World Trade Center wreckage was used in the construction of the bow stem of the ship. The bow stem is the part of the ship that reaches the farthest forward where it cuts through the water and also helps provide hull integrity. The second is that state names have typically been reserved for submarines but an exception was made in the case of the USS New York. George Pataki was the Governor of New York in 2001 and, following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, he sent a letter to Secretary of the Navy, Gordon England, asking the Navy to please revive the name USS New York and give it to a surface ship that would fight in the war on terror. He explained that the request was to honor those lost on September 11th and it was subsequently approved on August 28, 2002. The keel for the ship was laid and construction began at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Avondale Operations, greater New Orleans area, Louisiana on September 10, 2004. The USS New York is currently docked in New York City for its commissioning ceremony which will be held on Saturday, November 7. The general public is welcome to tour the state-of-the-art ship until Wednesday, November 11. More information about the USS New York can be found by visiting www.ussnewyork.com.