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IndyCar to return to Watkins Glen International

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces the return of IndyCar to Watkins Glen, during a visit to the New York State Fair.

IndyCar racing will have a home at Watkins Glen International at least for the next two years. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a deal to return the open car racing to the famed speedway while visiting the New York State Fair Thursday.

Track President Michael Printup says this is a landmark moment for the famed track.

"We now host every racing series in the country,” said Printup. “So it’s great to bring it back to the fans. It’s the pinnacle of racing. These are rockets on wheels.”

One of the factors that helped the return of IndyCar -- repaving of the Watkins Glen track, which means cars reaching 200 miles an hour, according to Jay Frye of IndyCar.

"When that happens, it creates more grip. So the cars are inherently faster right off the bat. So for the first few years, however the grip level is very high, and the speeds are very high. Supposedly, [reports are] from all the IndyCar drivers they did a phenomenal job of paving the track. And it’s ice, table top smooth, and that’s created even more speed.”

Printup says Watkins Glen now becomes one of the premier racing facilities in the world. And that means a huge economic impact to Steuben County and the Finger Lakes region of the state.

“Our total economic impact without IndyCar -- because we had our new economic impact done two years ago in Washington, D.C -- $204 million without IndyCar. So we anticipate IndyCar is probably a $40-50 million additional impact.”

The IndyCar series is racing at Watkins Glen Sept 1-4. That event was added after another IndyCar event in Boston was canceled. 

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.