Sunday, November 18, 2018

Watkins Glen International In The Off-Season

  Here are two books that are must reads for race fans and Artist, Robert Gillespie's 2019
Calendar, British Sports Cars at Watkins Glen

What does one do when the weather turns cold and racing winds down for the season?  Besides reading some good books shown here, I decided to return to my roots in Upstate New York where I recently visited the quaint village of Watkins Glen while attending the fourth annual Michael R. Argetsinger Symposium on International Motor Racing History. This symposium was presented by the International Motor Racing Research Center (Located in Watkins Glen) and the Society of Automotive Historians.

As a race fan this is a pilgrimage you might want to consider next year as it is fascinating to learn about the heritage of motor racing. You begin to realize how important motor racing was around the world in several nation's advancement of technology, industrialization and even nationalism, let alone the creation of racing heroes.

I arrived early on a Friday morning, stopping by the Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce to meet the staff and to look for opportunities to market my new book, "Echoes From The Glen", Reflections of Race Fans After Forty Years. I met Chamber president and CEO, Rebekah Carroll and staff and was invited to take pictures of their office which shows you how much this community revolves around road racing. In fact the whole town could be a Disney theme park about motor racing. The character and atmosphere of the place is really special for anyone that loves car racing and it is well worth the time to walk down Franklin Street, which is their main street, and visit the shops along the way.

One such shop, which is more than a retail store is Franklin Street Gallery; a community arts center. There are many unique pieces of automotive art, books and other memorabilia.  Another nice place to visit is a storefront for Watkins Glen Promotions, a non profit corporation dedicated to planning and organizing quality events in Schuyler County, including the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival held in September. (I just ordered some race posters off their website, They have many nice gifts available on the shelf there, or you can order like I did from their website.
 Here's their link to the Grand Prix Festival

My time was short, so it was now on to the Symposium held up on the hill as the locals call it, meaning at the race track not far from the village, but definitely on a big hill for us Floridians! The views alone are worth the drive up there.

The Symposium is open to the public at no charge (super good deal) and I got to see the huge media center, complete with a large conference room above victory lane where the media gather for all the races. I didn't know what to expect, this being my first visit but I was impressed by the quality of the speakers and the uniqueness of the audience. I sat next to a fine young chap, Timothy Robeers, who was a sports media communications lecturer and doctoral candidate from Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium. His topic was "From Formula 1 to Formula E and Beyond" and the other fellow at my table was Dr. Mark D. Howell, Professor of Communications at Northwestern Michigan College.  His topic was 'Not My Daddy's NASCAR".  He is also a senior writer for

This whole experience was incredibly interesting and a great way to add a new level of appreciation for the sport of motor racing. If you can't make to the Symposium, you should at least visit the International Motor Racing Research Center in the village of Watkins Glen.

I'll finish this post with a few pictures I took while there, including the unexpected early November snow storm that gives a unique view above victory lane at the track.

Victory Lane from Media Center Balcony

Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce Lobby

Robert Gillespie Mural - 1948 Watkins Glen Grand Prix
Bill Milliken's Bugatti Type 35-A

Another Chamber of Commerce Lobby Picture

While at the Symposium

Enjoy the off-season and look for more from this blog soon regarding the launch of my book
"Echoes From The Glen"

Paul Ziegler, Publisher,

Friday, October 19, 2018

Watkins Glen International Book "Echoes From The Glen"

Jean-Pierre Jarier, Clay Regazzoni, Hans Stuck and John Watson coming off Turn #10

My new book, "Echoes From The Glen", Reflections of Race Fans After Forty Years is nearing completion. It has been a long time coming but it is worth it.  I'm pleased to have contributions to the book from fans every bit as enthusiastic about racing at the "Glen" as I am.

I will finish the final chapter in November after I've had time to personally visit with a gentleman in New York that has been to every major race at Watkins Glen since 1959! His stories should be the icing on the cake for the book that includes memories from "Bud Man", Jeff Washburn and a summary of 40 years of adventures of The Pabst Blue Ribbon Gang by Patrick McCabe.

The book is centered around photos I took at the 1976 Formula 1 race including pictures of Niki Lauda and James Hunt who were locked in a battle for the world championship. It is also the season that was the subject of Ron Howard's 2013 movie "Rush" that relives the epic story of the 1976 season.  And the book explains through personal accounts from fans what it was like to attend a major race at the Glen forty or more years ago.

Here' an excerpt from my book that may have you thinking about ordering one when it becomes available.

This is my account a few minutes before the start of the race on October 10, 1976:

" The atmosphere was electric along the starting grid. You could smell the fumes from high octane petrol as engines were being revved up here and there. Photographers were running around getting shots of the drivers sitting in their cars; mechanics were consulting with the drivers and an occasional wrench was employed to make a last minute adjustment. VIP's in sport coats were milling around with mechanics, reporters and pretty women.
Meanwhile, I had my camera ready. I kept checking the settings for focus, shutter speed and aperture. I remember focusing on a car here, another car there dozens of times. With only three rolls of film every shot had to be just right.... It was intimidating for a 26 year old and add to that I had to control my emotions seeing in my viewfinder these superstars of the sport; these brilliantly dressed gladiators with gloves pulled tight and helmet visors ready to be lowered.  Would I be able to do it?"

That's just a taste of what the book is like and the photos on the starting grid alone are worth getting a copy if you want to see the cars and the drama of that time gone by.

 There is also a photo gallery addendum of some of my favorite shots from other races in the 1970's.  Here's one to whet your appetite of the #1 Porsche 917K driven by Jo Siffert and the #2 Porsche 917K driven by Pedro Rodriguez. Siffert finished second behind winner, Denny Hulme's McLaren M8D. I can attest to seeing the 917K's coming off corner #11 onto the current Start/ Finish line straight like a rocket every lap.  They were mind boggling fast!

J. W. Automotive Engineering Porsche 917K -  Driver Jo Siffert

Stay tuned for the release of "Echoes From The Glen"

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler and

Friday, September 28, 2018

I Love New York - As In Watkins Glen International

I'm finally back in Florida at my desk after being in New York for the US Vintage Grand Prix. I've got some great news and photos to share.  I also want to give readers an update on my forthcoming book 'Echoes From The Glen'.

The book is coming along nicely with my text nearly done. While in New York I met with a contributor to the book, Jeff Washburn who has provided me tales from attending races at WGI since the mid '70's, including posing for a time as 'The Bud Man" during sports car and  NASCAR races. That material will be included with my recollections of  40+ years ago what it was like to experience race weekends in Watkins Glen, the birthplace of modern day sports car racing in the US after World War II.

 Dinner with Jeff in my former hometown of Newark, NY lasted a couple of hours as he filled me in with other fascinating stories of his experiences with another racing genre - super stock and modified racing on dirt and paved oval tracks where he worked for a while as a crew chief to a racing team. Legendary 'bull ring ovals' like Oswego Super Speedway and the dirt track at Weedsport, NY to name just two. Interestingly, Jeff and I lived for 15 years only a few miles apart, attended many of the same races, but we never met until a few years ago. The story of our chance meeting is covered in the book illustrating how car racing in general can bring people together like a brotherhood.

 In another development, I recently contacted Patrick McCabe, of Upstate NY who is the 'spokesperson' for the Pabst Blue Ribbon Gang.  Patrick is collecting interesting stories from members of the gang that are now scattered across the country, but who gather together to attend races at the Glen each season as they have for 40 years; a ritual likely unmatched by a group of devoted race fans. I am anxiously waiting to see what stories he will produce for the book!

Lastly, another chance meeting occurred from the racing brotherhood. I met Jim Alfieri from Honeoye Falls, NY  after seeing a 1973 Ford Capri parked in a garage at a garage sale with a bumper sticker touting 'The Last Open Road', a popular book in racing circles by BS Levy. I have Levy's book as well and upon talking with Jim's wife I learned they both attended races regularly at The Glen for many years along with Jim's brother, Dave. Jim once worked for the Watkins Glen Corporation collecting money from fans bringing camp trailers into the events. Back in the day he described seeing rows of camper trailers for as far as the eye could see and seeing some very interesting characters accompanying these trailers.  We will leave it at that until you read the book. Jim said he will contact his his brother Dave, who has a fantastic memory for details, to follow up with me.  I expect that will produce some interesting stories for the book. I'm anxiously waiting to talk with him.

All of the above promise to add color and flavor to the coffee table photo book that will be available soon highlighting wonderful pictures of F1 racing from the 1976 US Grand Prix in particular along with many other photos in general.

Back to the present, or seemingly back to the present. Below I have pictures of vintage race cars from times gone by, only they are still racing with SVRA.  I love the SVRA motto ' Some people collect art, We race it'.

   As a side note, being an Alfa Romeo guy who drives a 2017 Giulia Ti Sport, I stopped by the paddock area to take pictures of a 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV owned by Steve Rauh. I had a nice chat and he invited me to sit and have lunch with him as well.   That's what I like about this race- it reminds me of the old days when you could get up close and talk with drivers and crew. So you will see some pictures of Steve's GTV here, of course.

One last thing - To all SVRA car owners.  I'll send you an 8X10 of your car at the Glen (I photographed 80 % of them) at NO CHARGE..    I'm trying to promote my upcoming book and get my name out there, so please take advantage of the offer if you read this blog, and if you are an SVRA member reading this, please pass it along to other members.   Contact me at with your mailing information and consider it done!  Steve- Your Photo will be in the mail this weekend.

So now to the pictures:   US Vintage Grand Prix by SVRA  September 7-9, 2018


 I'll end with a tribute to Alfa Romeo with Steve Rauh's 1972 GTV.  I'm looking forward to SVRA at Watkins Glen next year.  Hope you have enjoyed these pictures and remind SVRA member's to email me at for their free 8X10 photo of their car.

Brought to you by  Paul Ziegler, Publisher

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Alfa Romeo's 'Ferrari' Like SUV

If Ferrari built an SUV, this could be it.  Really!  The new Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is as close to a Ferrari as it gets.  The same can be said if Ferrari ever built a four door sedan, the Giulia Quadrifoglio could be it! Here's why.

Ferrari engineers helped design the chassis, including handling dynamics as deduced from Ferrari's handling simulator, and the engine is a V6 version of their Califorinia T V8 engine.  It is twin turbocharged with over 500 horsepower and sounds like no other V6 you've ever heard .  And there are more visible Ferrari inputs like the red Start/ Stop button on the steering wheel as well as a few 'invisible' bits we will not know about . But most important is the Italian design and style that comes from being part of a bloodline that started with Alfa Romeo over 100 years ago.

To demonstrate this family relationship one only needs to see this picture of  Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen riding in vintage Alfa Romeo race cars prior to the start of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza today.

 On this beautiful day in Florida I stopped by the St. Petersburg Maserati/ Alfa Romeo store to get a glimpse of a gorgeous Stelvio 'Quad' in Rosso Competizione.  (Competition Red for non Italians) Take a look at this beauty.

I also got the latest edition of Motor Trend magazine yesterday that ranked the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quad as the best driver's SUV when compared to the Porsche Macan Turbo, Mercedes AMG GLC 63, Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR and the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.    Go get a copy and read the results as they support my claim that the Stelvio Quad is like what Ferrari would build if they built an SUV.  Here's what the cover of the mag looks like:

Considering all the above, Ferrari influence goes into a world class SUV and a fantastic four door sport sedan- only they are Alfa Romeos!  

If you are ever near St. Petersburg, FL check out the Maserati/ Alfa dealership.  They have a great selection of cars and SUV's for you.

Brought to you by
Paul Ziegler, Publisher