Wallace: Watkins Glen was 'my favorite road course'

July 23, 2019 - 9:18 am

During the course of the NASCAR season, there are only two road course races on the schedule. One of those races always comes in the first weekend of August in Watkins Glen, New York.

Watkins Glen International has been a regular race on the NASCAR circuit since 1986, and is always one of the most anticipated races of the season. This year's race is coming up on Sunday, August 4 with the Go Bowling at the Glen.

Tony Stewart is the current "king of the track" at Watkins Glen with five wins on the 2.45-mile long track.

One racer who won the race twice in his career was Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace. He won his first race in Watkins Glen in 1987, and then followed that up with his second win in 1989.

Over the course of his career, Wallace was a 55-time winner on, what is now known as, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He was also the winner of the NASCAR Winston Cup Championship back in 1989 for his only seasonal championship.

Wallace was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2013.

Today, Wallace serves as a analyst with the Motor Racing Network, and can be heard weekly on WGR Sports Radio 550. He joined Howard Simon and Jeremy White in studio on Tuesday to reminisce his racing days in the NASCAR circuit, and fondly remembers his time racing in the Finger Lakes.

"That was my favorite road course," Wallace said. "We would race out in Sears Point (Sonoma Raceway) in California, and that was a cool road course also. But the thing I like about 'The Glen' is because it was mostly right-hand turns and it was a really fast track, meaning that it had a long back straightaway. you'd be running 175-180 miles-per-hour, and the front straightaway was super long. Then it had some really high-speed left- and right-hand corners so it was a track that you would really rip around. You just weren't putting around that race track... That place, you are booking around that joint."

Not only did Wallace enjoy the success that he had while racing at Watkins Glen, but he also enjoyed the environment at the race track for the entire weekend.

"The fans up in the northeast get really jacked up, and this place would get over 100,000 people in it. It's a real scene," Wallace said. "When you go to 'The Glen', it's like going to an event. It's not like you're going somewhere just for the day. Most people travel up there for 2-3 days, and it's a great time."

Of his 55 career wins on the NASCAR circuit, Wallace was able to claim six wins on road courses, which is tied for third all-time in NASCAR history. While some of his fellow competitors struggled on the road courses and did not like to race those courses, Wallace took each road race as a challenge.

"I saw road course racing, when I first started, as an opportunity," Wallace said. "Every body was treating it like it was a real pain in the butt. They would take their short track cars like they would run at Bristol, Richmond or Martinsville, Virginia... they would take their short track car and change the suspension up a little bit in the front, put the gas hole for fuel in the car on the other side and that was it. I thought, 'man, there's got to be a better way to do this.'... I really took this road course stuff serious."

We will carry the Go Bowling at the Glen live on August 4 on WGR with Wallace as part of the race day coverage.

You can listen to the entire interview below:

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