First post-WWII Road Race in America, historical marker

History along the Finger Lakes Trail

First post-WWII Road Race in America, historical marker

Watkins Glen, New York 14891, United States

Created By: Diane Lebo Wallace


At this spot the green flag dropped for 23 sports cars to start the first road race in the United States after World War II. The event was sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), sponsored by the Village of Watkins Glen, and attended by around 5000 spectators. It marked the beginning of a racing era at Watkins Glen and throughout the country. The 6.6 mile course started at this spot with a 1/4 mile straightaway, then made a sharp right to go up a steep climb, and across a plateau that lead to another ascent. Before heading back down the hill, the course crossed the New York Central railroad, whose trains were held up during the race. After crossing the rail line, the track went into a mile long descent back into town and across the start/finish line.

At the end of four laps, 15 cars qualified for the main event which ran 8 laps. 11 cars finished the race.

In 1952, the last year the circuit was used, there were more than 100 entrants. The course may be toured today over the same roads marked with signs identifying the special features of the circuit.

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FLT Map M14

This point of interest is part of the tour: History along the Finger Lakes Trail


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