So you’ve hiked around the falls and the park, you’ve done the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, and now you’re ready to see what else Watkins Glen has to offer.
Consider attending the second annual Jean S. Argetsinger Symposium on International Motor Racing History, November 11 and 12, at the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC).
The IMRRC may be one of the Glen’s best-kept secrets. Opened in 1999 with a mission of preserving and sharing the history of motorsports, the 5,000-sqare-foot facility owes its existence in large part to Cameron R. Argetsinger. Called the father of American road racing, Mr. Argetsinger ran the rst post-World War II race in America through the roads of Watkins Glen in 1948; in 1961 he brought Formula 1 to the track here. He died in 2008.
His wife, Jean, was a founder of the IMRRC and is a member of the governing council. The symposium is named for her.
There were just three academic papers presented at last year’s event; eleven are scheduled for this year.
“The increase from three in 2015 to eleven in just the second year is a clear indication of the need for an academic setting that discusses motor sports,” says Glenda Gephart, director of administration and communications for IMRRC.
Presentation topics include racing in Cuba, early electric vehicle racing, NASCAR, and, what promises to be one of the more unusual topics, “Goodbye Four Hooves, Hello Four Wheels: Automobile Polo, the Forgotten Motorsports Pastime.”
Dan Simone, curator of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, will give the keynote address on Saturday, November 12; Patricia Yongue, retired professor from the University of Houston English Department and a women-in-racing expert, will serve as symposium moderator.
The event gets underway Friday evening at 6:30 with a reception—featuring, of course, the wines and cheeses of the Finger Lakes. Two papers will be presented that evening beginning at 7 p.m. Presentations start again Saturday at 10 a.m., with the keynote address scheduled for 1 p.m.
“We invite people to spend the day with us, or to just drop in,” Gephart says, adding that pre-registration is not required for this free event.
The IMRR is on 610 S. Decatur Street and is within walking distance of many downtown locations. The Center, in the words of Jean Argetsinger, is not a museum or an entertainment facility, but a place to collect, preserve, and distribute automobile racing information. It is the repository for a number of racing organizational archives, and owns archives for other groups. The Sports Car Club of America recently selected the IMRRC to manage its archives. That is, according to Gephart, “a huge honor.”
There is a 1968 Mustang Shelby Team Car on display at the International Motor Racing Research Center right now, so, go ahead—let your inner motorhead out and take a visit. For more information, cruise over to www.racingarchives.org.