Start your engines: Watkins Glen ready for racing season

Sports

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WETM) — Watkins Glen International is moving to full capacity for the first time on June 24 for the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen. Many racing fans are excited for the first weekend in August when NASCAR comes to the Southern Tier.

During the four-race weekend this summer, the Glen expects to welcome more than 150,000 fans to the grandstands. They need several thousand workers throughout the weekend to run the national event. Jobs for the event include ushers, security, grandstand workers, ticket takers, bag checkers, and food service workers. Slowly but surely the jobs are getting filled as the countdown to the race continues.

“It’s going to take some time, but I feel comfortable with what we have already that we are working in the right direction,” said Michael Printup, Watkins Glen International President.

According to the New York Times, the job market added more than 500,000 jobs in May, but the road to economic recovery is bumpy. This is far fewer jobs than what was expected. Many job seekers are looking to switch careers amid the pandemic and others are finding that going back to work will provide other challenges, like finding child care.

NASCAR weekend in Watkins Glen will be a welcomed economic boost for the area. The race brings in thousands of fans from across the country, showcasing the Southern Tier to the world.

“It’s the lakes. It’s the parks. It’s the shops. It’s the wineries. It’s the gas stations,” Printup continued. “To have everybody come here to the only NASCAR facility in New York State and our racing excitement. How does it get any better than having four of the biggest series in the world parked right here in Watkins Glen for a weekend.”

Printup expects to fill more than 90% of the stands, but he is not sure if they will hit a perfect sell-out as people get used to the post-pandemic world.

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