Dedicated to the Founders
Each year on Friday after Labor Day, the Grand Prix Festival of Watkins Glen celebrates the community's rich road racing history and the first post-World War II road race in the United States. The event is dedicated to the committee of the Chamber of Commerce of
Watkins Glen that launched that initial race on October 2, 1948.
The members of the Race Executive Committee included
- Cameron R. Argetsinger, who was General Chairman for the 1948 race, is credited with bringing the ides of having a sportscar race to the Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Jean, continue to pursue the development of Watkins Glen as the home of American road racing to this day.
- Jean Argetsinger, wife of Cameron Argetsinger, helped Cameron with the races, founded the Glen
Paddock Club, wrote the official race programs from 1958 to 1969. She is now President of the Watkins
Glen public library as well as President of the Board of Trustees of the International Motor Racing
Research Center, built due to Jean's efforts.
- Arthur H. Richards, Jr., who was secretary for the Chamber of Commerce and Press Director for the racing event in 1948.
- Donald Brubaker, who was president of the Chamber at the time and was instrumental in motivating the Chamber and the entire community to get behind Argetsinger's idea.
- Leon Gros-Jean, who chaired the larger "committee of 100" that helped organize and manage the initial
race. He also carried out much of the communications necessary to bring the races to Watkins Glen.
- Mayor Allen D. Erway, worked tirelessly to obtain the necessary permits for the races and became known as the 'man who stopped the trains,' after arranging for the New York Central Railroad to reschedule the trains for the races.
- Lester Smalley, owner of Smalley's Garage where tech inspections for the initial races were conducted. He was Pit Chairman for the 1948 and subsequent races.
- Florence Smalley, who conducted the tech inspections and was known as the Chief Scruntinizer.
- William F. Milliken, Jr., who was Tech Chairman for the 1948 races and Regional Executive of the Sportscar Club of America. Milliken was instrumental in formulating race regulations for the early races and engineering the road surface and safety features of the original 6.6 mile course.
- Dominick Fraboni, owner of the Chevrolet dealership in Watkins Glen at the time.
- D. Burr Stone, who was the Watkins Glen Fire Chief in 1948.
- Linwood Miller, who was the Watkins Glen Chief of Police.
- Ernest Porter, Schuyler County Highway Superintendent.
- Jerry W. Black, Schuyler County State Assemblyman.
- Jay Turner, Supervisor for the Town of Dix.
- Harry Klube, Supervisor for the Town of Reading
- Joseph Hoffman, Chairman of the Schuyler County Board of Supervisors.
All of these individuals worked on a day-to-day basis to prepare for
and conduct the first races on October 2, 1948.