I have attended the Watkins Glen races for the past 38 years, photographing and sketching exotic machinery on the "hill circuit" since I was 11 years old. Without realizing how fortunate I was, I grew up with the U.S. Grand Prix as a fixture in my life. From time to time, references to the original 6.6 mile venue which circled the State Park gorge crept into the racing literature I was reading. Then in 1996 my dabbling in automotive art took a turn when my friend Doug Akin, a Formula Ford driver who had commissioned a painting, encouraged me to make prints of my work. Because Watkins Glen was approaching its 50th anniversary, I decided it was time I found out more about those early races on the original track because I just might find something interesting.

  I contacted Bill Green, the course historian. During our first meeting, Bill brought the old circuit to life with detailed accounts and a wealth of photos. I can't claim a sudden inspiration but my brain quickly reached "circuit" overload. It was as if a spotlight was shining into the local King Tut's tomb of racing history. I think I've begun to settle down now as Bill and I are collaborating on the 6th painting, This print series seeks to capture the excitement of those early years at The Glen. I find little need to invoke artistic license when depicting the 1948 to 1952 races because there are so many fascinating combinations of landscapes, crowds, and cars, in very close quarters (with no Armco barriers in sight).

  Since I live only a half-hour from those original roads, I can easily drive around them and conjure up enough images to keep me busy for years. As I visualize the old road course, I think about the art of Peter Helk and Gordon Crosby and how this type of subject was their domain. I want to pay homage to these artists of the open road, recreating scenes of a past era in a style that's befitting.

  By profession, I've been a middle-school art teacher for 25 years, so I guess its natural that my most recent automotive art project brings kids and cars together. I've created a 50th Anniversary coloring book highlighting the half-century of road racing here at Watkins Glen. The 8 1/2" x 11" booklet has 24 pages illustrating some of the diverse events and personalities connected with the Glen. With this history sampler, I hope to inspire a new generation of Watkins Glen artists - and who knows? Maybe 50 years from now a Glen Centennial coloring book will be created by one of the recipients of my 1998 edition.

Commissioned painting for Doug Akin