Fans at Watkins Glen International were revved up for Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen. The sports car endurance race is one of the largest events at the venue, attracting thousands of people from around the country. YNNs Crystal Cranmore takes a look at the event's economic impact.
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - - It's the sound of racing season at Watkins Glen International. The highly anticipated GRAND AM Rolex Sports Car series took to the track with Daytona prototypes and GT cars Sunday.
“Word is spreading about GRAND AM road racing -- the popularity of it, the competition. It's not as familiar to individuals as NASCAR. That’s pretty universal,” said Elizabeth Mayer, the spokesperson for Watkins Glen International.
Rich with history, the 32nd annual Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen attracts thousands of people each year.
“It's amazing! It’s so much better than seeing it on television,” said one visitor.
“I have a sports car myself. This is neat and what I like about it is, it’s very family and kid friendly,” said Patrick Wilkins, who is visiting from Hornell.
Organizers said they surpassed last year's turnout of about 20,000 visitors from all over the country and Canada.
“It's an impact to the hotels and restaurants and the like. We're happy to play a role and be a tourist attraction,” said Mayer.
Down the road at the Glen Motor Inn, employees said it was booked all weekend. They even housed five of the racing teams.
“We have been here for 75 years and we have been serving the racing public for a long time. A lot of these folks come back,” said Kathie Burns.
Area businesses said they look forward to the events at the Glen. NASCAR's Cheeze-It 355 weekend will have racing's biggest names on the track August eighth through the 11th.