1976 - WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK, is a place of very extreme extremes.
With good weather, it can be one of the most pleasant spots on Earth.
With bad weather, it can be as forlorn as a Bowery burn's funeral.
It is both a charming and interesting place to hold automobile races, while being a highly unlikely place to run or even walk anything.
For the average sports car/road racing fan, it holds an aura of Mecca. It is the site of the annual Grand Prix of the United States, Formula One, lately the last stop on the World's Championship trail ... this year the only Grand Prix event in North America. And easily the richest of the year.
In year past, Watkins Glen was also the site of an annual SCCA Trans-Am race, a Can-Am, and The Six Hours of Endurance, counting toward the World Manufacturer's Championship.
Road racing, however, is on hard times in the United States.
There is a Trans-Am in name only; the Can-Am is gone; the Manufactures' Championship endurance races are more telling with which factories are not entered than with which factories are.
The USAC/SCCA Formula 5000 is still a teenybopper on the scene, and will take a few more years to grow into anything formidable.
Mark Donohue, America's premiere road racer, is dead.
Dan Gurney is retired from the driver's seat.
A.J. Foyt takes more pains to race in a dirt-track Sprint Car race than he does in a road race.
Mario Andretti is still trying to get some equipment under him that will hold up under his thrasning.
IMSA is coming on strong but is more a modified Stock Car/Road Racing series than a Sports Car/Road Racing series.
Events at Watkins Glen's Grand Prix course had been petering out for the last few years. Road racing needs an infusion of new ideas and inventiveness, but the two organizations likely to be able to do anything to help it, USAC and the SCCA, are too meshed in committee meeting to accomplish anything.