A weekend at a road course: Watkins Glen International

Breaking down how to make the most of a weekend of racing at Watkins Glen International, from family activities to prime vantage points.

One incredible thing about road courses is that they provide flexibility and promote access to many different areas of the track. If you are making the trip to Watkins Glen International, one of the premier road courses in the United States, there are five key things you should do when visiting the 2.45-mile New York track.

1. Make your own itinerary

Whether you are attending the track for an entire weekend or attempting to make the most out of a single day, planning a daily schedule beforehand can ensure you get to as many activities and areas as possible. Vast road courses like Watkins Glen often have events and fan festivities spread out throughout the property, so knowing where and when things are happening is important. If you are traveling as a family, planning can be inclusive, create new ideas for repeat guests and can make sure the experience is enjoyable for everyone. The best way to see a full rundown of the schedule, plan for any pre-race activities and learn about new or updated amenities is to visit the track’s website.

WATKINS GLEN: Official track website | Fan guide | Latest weekend schedule

2. Print out a track map

Having a map in your hand can make the track and facilities easier to navigate. It can also help you cross off the areas that you have already been to and keep track of where you want to go next. Facilities and amenities are often updated from year-to-year, so making sure you have the latest version of any map can help avoid confusion for guests already familiar with the property. For a fun family activity, the printed map can also be used to set up an interactive scavenger hunt and see who can visit the most areas throughout the weekend. Having a map is great for explaining the different areas to children and can even double as a simple souvenir. The 2022 track map can be found here.

3. Use a radio scanner

Radio scanners are useful for enhancing any race fan’s experience at the track, but they can be even more useful on large road circuits like Watkins Glen. With the leaders out of sight for a large portion of the course, unlike ovals, you can keep track of the action in real-time with a combination of broadcasters and in-car radio communication. This method makes it easy for families to stay engaged through the race and experience the race from a complementary angle. Learn more about scanners here.

4. Explore a different vantage point

It is essential for fans to get a different view of the twists and turns Watkins Glen has to offer. With over 2 miles of winding roads, every bit of the track has its own personality. Watkins Glen has seven turns, jump-started by an electric Turn 1, conveniently located near the start-finish line. Fans have an opportunity to straddle the course in designated areas to witness the high speeds and action-packed racing all the way through the final chute. You may have one established spot to enjoy for most of the race weekend, but getting around and seeing the on-track action from a completely different viewpoint is one thing that makes road courses so unique. Learn each turn here.

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5. Visit the surrounding area

If you have time, getting outside of the track and exploring the historic Watkins Glen area is a special treat for any race fan. As one of the most historic racing venues in the United States, Watkins Glen provides access to notable attractions such as the Watkins Glen Drivers Walk of Fame and the International Motor Racing Research Center. You will find iconic NASCAR legends like Richard Petty and Roger Penske honored among racing’s best.

This weekend’s NASCAR action at Watkins Glen starts with the Xfinity Series’ Sunoco Go Rewards 200 at The Glen (3 p.m. ET, USA Network, NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) on Saturday and wraps up with the Cup Series’ Go Bowling at The Glen (3 p.m. ET, USA Network, NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) on Sunday.