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Sunday, February 13, 2005

When Anarchy Ruled at Watkins Glen International

The T-shirt symbolizes the days when anarchy ruled at Watkins Glen International when the circuit hosted amateur racing which attracted primarily college age spectators.

The Watkins Glen Grand Prix Corporation was a non-profit organization that started after WWII with road racing being an amateur endeavor, totally unlike professional racing as we know it today. It was strictly for entertainment and the aristocrats. The Wine and Cheeser’s crowd ran the course. There was a purest element about it that racing was just for fun.

Now a good thing like that can’t last long and it didn’t… it collapsed eventually in the mid to late 70’ under its own weight of an eat-drink-and be merry policy, and no doubt, the anarchy that occurred in the Bog.

The “Bog”, memorialized on the T-shirt, was a big mud pit somewhere in the infield where race fan revelers would drive their cars in the thick gooey swamp until the thrill was gone, or they passed out or someone set fire to their cars when it got permanently stuck. It was a time of bon fires fueled by track billboards or anything combustible. Lawlessness was the rule and not the exception. Security was a couple of Schulyer County Sheriff’s doing their best to “stay out of the way” but keep the sober safe.

Gone are the days when the Bog hosted “informal entertainment” for fans who have no doubt repressed many memories for the sake of their children of a hell-raising unique to Watkins Glen racing. The present incarnation of today’s family oriented NASCAR operated events enforce zero tolerance for such behavior, but there’s many longtime racing fans who could wear a T-shirt that said …..I survived the Bog!

Tony Vickio from Watkins Glen, an avid collector of Watkins Glen racing memorabilia sent the T-shirt photo. Tony said, “Was in Maria's for lunch and we were talking about the IRL coming to town and this guy said he had an old shirt. It is now in my shop. This brings back memories of Open Wheel racing at the Glen!!!”


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